Illumina Veterans Back Genomic Platform Powered by Blockchain Technology with $2 Million
A genomic and medical research knowledge base powered by blockchain technology, and owned by its community, Luna DNA, have announced a $2 million seed funding.
The round included several individual investors and former executives from Illumina, one of the leading DNA sequencing companies in the world.
Technologists and health-care professionals consider blockchain technology to be a secure way to streamline the sharing of medical records in a secure way, protect sensitive data from hackers, and give patients more control over their information.
Founded in 2017, Luna DNA is a public benefit corporation empowering people to own and share their genomic information for medical research.
Individuals are increasingly choosing to have DNA testing for insights into their health, ancestry, and other traits. Simultaneously, the emergence of the Blockchain creates a low-friction way to incentivise and deliver value for data sharing and allows for private, decentralised ownership in a manner that community members can trust. Luna DNA is first-of-its-kind to converge these advances in genomic testing and cryptocurrency for a medical community-owned database.
“Understanding the genome and decoding diseases will take the cooperation of a diverse and large community. While personal DNA testing continues to rise in popularity, currently these data are siloed, hindering genomic discovery,” said Dr. David Barker, former vice president and chief scientific officer for Illumina, who appears on Luna DNA’s advisory board. “What makes Luna DNA unique is its consumer empowerment through offering reward and ownership for providing genomic data, which will be used to back scientific research.”
Contributing to the round was Luna DNA’s chief information officer, Dr. Scott Kahn, who previously worked as chief information officer at Illumina, Gavin Saitowitz, CEO and co-founder of Prelude Capital, and Dr. David R. Walt, co-founder of and advisor to Illumina.
Through Luna DNA’s community-owned database, individuals are given Luna Coins for contributing medical information. Luna Coinsare part of the Blockchain and will have real monetary value, preserve customer privacy, enable massive reach at a low cost, and are decentralized and immutable. By offering monetary value, Luna DNA is in a unique position to have individuals share data they already own. By being agnostic to which DNA testing platform is used, data can be gathered from multiple sources without conflict of interest. As the company’s DNA database grows, it will become increasingly valuable to the entire medical research industry.
“The rise and impending intersection of genomics and cryptocurrency creates the ideal opportunity for us to launch Luna DNA and begin our pre-ICO sale. We’re thrilled by the broad and deep capabilities of our advisory team and our investor group,” said Bob Kain, CEO and co-founder, Luna DNA.