SAN DIEGO, Dec. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Luna DNA, the first and only genomic and medical research knowledge base powered by the blockchain and owned by its community, announced $2 Million in Seed funding today. The round included several individual investors and former executives from Illumina (Nasdaq: ILMN), the world leader in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies. Luna DNA, a Public Benefit Corporation, empowers people to own and share their genomic information for the greater good of the community and 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 incentivize and deliver value for data sharing and allows for private, decentralized 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.
Luna DNA encompasses a powerful executive leadership team and advisory board, including several Illumina veterans, industry academics, and financial executives. This includes Luna DNA CEO and co-founder Bob Kain (former chief engineering officer, Illumina); co-founder David Lewis (life science, equity and credit investor; former director at CitiGroup); co-founder Dan Lin (Redemption Games CTO; Y Combinator alumni); and co-founder Michael Witz (cryptocurrency investor; Redemption Games CEO and founder; Y Combinator alumni). Dr. Scott Kahn, former chief information officer at Illumina, has been appointed Luna DNA's chief information officer.
Luna DNA's distinguished advisory board includes Dr. David Barker, former vice president and chief scientific officer of Illumina; Dr. Carlos Bustamante, principal investigator and professor of biomedical data science and genetics at Stanford University; Dr. Francisco Garcia, currently the vice president of development at Illumina; Dr. Scott Kahn; Dr. Aristides A.N. Patrinos, member of the Kavli HUMAN Project's board of advisors and former deputy director for research at New York University's Center for Urban Science and Progress; Ashley Van Zeeland, chief technology officer at Human Longevity, Inc. and co-founder of Cypher Genomics; and Ed Yu, chairman of Vascular Cures and former partner at PwC Strategy&Healthcare Practice.
"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. "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."
Dr. Scott Kahn; Gavin Saitowitz, CEO and co-founder of Prelude Capital; and Dr. David R. Walt, co-founder of and advisor to Illumina, contributed to the round.
Through Luna DNA's community-owned database, individuals are given 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. 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.
About Luna DNA
Luna DNA is the first and only genomic and medical research database powered by the blockchain and owned by its community. A Public Benefit Corporation, Luna DNA enables people to own and share their genomic information for the greater good of the community and medical research. The company is headquartered in San Diego, Calif. and was founded in 2017. Luna DNA encompasses a robust executive leadership team and advisory board, including several Illumina veterans, industry academics, and financial executives. Former chief engineering officer of Illumina Bob Kain serves as CEO and co-founder. For more information visit www.lunadna.com.
Contact: Saramaya Penacho