IndyGeneUS AI, a biotech company striving to make clinical trial data more diverse, announced it was named awardee of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Veterans Lead QuickFire Challenge: Innovations by Vets. The award grants IndyGeneUS $175,000 in funding and aims to help veterans launch and grow successful businesses.
IndyGeneUS is a precision genomics company creating what it calls the world’s largest blockchain-encrypted digital health platform of Indigenous and diasporic African clinical and genomic data. The company’s goal is to make clinical trials more diverse while simultaneously compensating donors for their genetic contributions. By increasing the diversity of genomic data available, IndyGeneUs hopes to also create better health outcomes for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) worldwide.
“It’s extremely important that we support the visions of our veterans,“ Bunker Labs board member president Lenore Karafa, who was also at the pitch competition, said in a statement. “I was excited to learn about the mission of IndyGeneUS AI during their pitch and the hard work and dedication they are pouring into eradicating health disparities.”
IndyGeneUS to use its grant funding to scale its genomic data marketplace and proprietary GenēUS Discovery Platform.
In addition to the funding, the startup also announced its official residency at JLABS @ Washington, DC. It has been working out of the Johnson & Johnson innovation lab since May 1, focusing on whole genome sequencing to identify genetic drivers of medical conditions disproportionately impacting BIPOC populations.
“This is literally a dream come true, and a bit nostalgic. Today, IndyGeneUS AI has its first lab set up at JLABS @ Washington, DC at Children’s National new research and Innovation Campus on the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus, a site where I walked the halls as a combat medic in the U.S. Army over 20-years ago,” IndyGeneUS AI Founder Yusuf Henriques said in a statement. “Now, I have an opportunity to identify novel cell and gene therapies that will hopefully address health disparities and rare diseases like retinitis pigmentosa, which my twin daughters were diagnosed with in 2014. This is my opportunity to deliver on the promise that I made my girls to find beker treatment options or a cure.”
IndyGeneUS AI was also recently recognized as a Built In D.C. Future 5 company in the first quarter of 2022.