Blockchain Medical Research Database Luna DNA Raises $2M USD in Seed Fundingbr>
San Diego-based organization Luna DNA has raised $2 million USD in seed funding. The round was led by Prelude Capital CEO and cofounder Gavin Saitowitz. Other investors include Illumina CIO Scott Kahn and Illumina co-founder David Walt.
Luna DNA is a genomic and medical research database that uses blockchain technology. The company aims to incentivize sharing of genetic information with its own cryptocurrency, called Luna Coin. The company is considering plans to raise money through an initial coin offering (ICO) in the first three months of 2018.
Luna DNA stated that contributors of personal data should be financially rewarded, especially if what they provide is being used to help pharmaceutical companies find and develop new drug targets. It added Luna Coin would have real monetary value because they believe pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, and other researchers would purchase the cryptocurrency in order to access aggregated data from specific cohorts of patients.
Bob Kain, CEO and co-founder of Luna DNA, said that the project is a unique challenge because they would need a very large amount of data in order to drive discovery.
“If you’re talking about discovery across multiple diseases or multiple factors that impact quality of life, then you need millions of people to join, and you need them to join the same database in order to be able to drive discovery across all these individuals,” Kain said. “To do that, you need to incentivize individuals to want to get in the game, and you need to provide them the right structure so that they trust the organization enough to provide high-quality and in some cases very sensitive information about themselves.”