Luna DNA, a genomic and medical research database that uses blockchain technology, has received $2 million in seed funding.
The San Diego-based organization is a public benefit corporation, and has a goal of enabling people to own and share their genomic information for “the greater good of the community and medical research.”
Luna DNA also aims to incentivize sharing of genetic information with a cryptocurrency. The company is considering plans to raise money through a “token sale” in the first three months of 2018.
The company hopes to encourage individuals to share the results of genomic testing that is being conducted more widely in recent years; information in these genetic test results could be of great value to pharmaceutical and other medical research companies.
Individuals are increasingly choosing to have DNA testing for insights into their health, ancestry and other traits. Simultaneously, the emergence of blockchain technology creates an easy way to incentivize and deliver value for data sharing. The blockchain also “allows for private, decentralized ownership in a manner that community members can trust,” the company says. “Luna DNA is first-of-its-kind to converge these advances in genomic testing and cryptocurrency for a medical community-owned database.”
Through Luna DNA's community-owned database, individuals get Luna Coins for contributing medical information. Luna Coins are 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,” a company statement says. “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-initial coin offering) sale,” says Bob Kain, CEO and co-founder of Luna DNA.
The seed funding was raised from several individual investors and former executives from Illumina, a vendor providing DNA sequencing and array-based technologies.
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