Harvard Professor Confirms VC Funds for DNA Data Marketplace
The company co-founded by George Church, a Harvard professor, named Nebula Genomics announced that ten investors aim to provide $4.3M USD to fund the creation of a platform in which people can offer their genomes, or DNA data, for a price.
Among the list of investors include several venture capitalist firms such as Khosla Ventures and Fenbushi Capital. In addition, the project will be conducted in association with Veritas Genetics Intl, a genome sequencing research facility.
Why Genomic Data?
The aim is to progress and facilitate further genome research, which thus far has allowed pharmaceutical companies to create medicine distinctively targeting genetic issues. In addition, food suppliers such as Nestle SA express their desire to utilize valuable genetic data to establish customer programs centered around nutrition. These science heavy projects require a mass amount of data most individuals remain reluctant to offer. This project hopes to represent their focus on privacy and security as well as reward for participation.
Nebula’s CEO, Kamal Obbad, stated that their mission, along with their investors, is to change the perspective of genomic data, and solve issues preventing the reality of customized medicine once and for all. This project he explained, is a new step towards the concept of individualized medical care.
The Value of DNA
For companies who utilize DNA and health related data such as drug companies view this project as a valuable source of information. GlaxoSmithKline Plc, for example, purchase their data from a DNA tester known as 23andMe Inc., among the biggest storage of genetic data in the world. The UK’s National Health Service collaborates with Sensyne Health to make collected patient data marketable for future research.
In this sense, Nebula aims to utilize blockchain tech in order to record and verify transactions associated with a network Veritas will design giving people the ability to submit their genomic data to share with desired companies or research parties. These clients will then receive rewards in the form of the platform’s crypto token, Nebula. A statement was released explaining that this concept addresses mainstream concerns regarding genomic data sellers who provide personal data to other companies.
George Church, a main figure pertaining to the Personal Genome Project, has since launched several genetic-centered companies which include Veritas. Church has made a name for himself among laboratory contributions as well as genetic techniques such as Crispr, used for changing or editing issues in genomes.
Over ten years ago, Church predicted that the cost of decoding individuals genomes would rapidly decrease, and thus begin a revolution of development within the medical industry. Insurance companies, for example, may use data collected from Nebula to decrease rates of genetic disorders or allow the future ability to decode an individual’s genetic disease they wish to cure.