SAN DIEGO, May 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Luna DNA, the first community-owned genomic and medical research database, today announced financing from key investors Illumina Ventures and Arch Venture Partners. Additional investors include UK-based Bridgelink Capital; Seattle-based Hemisphere Ventures; and Dr. Aristides Patrinos, a former leader of the Human Genome Project and current advisor to Luna DNA. The funds will be used to support the next phase in creating Luna DNA's genomic and medical research platform and enlisting data contributors.
Illumina Ventures is an independently managed venture firm focused on early-stage companies that are pioneering new applications of genomics and enabling precision medicine. Illumina Ventures was launched in 2016 with initial investment from Illumina. Founding partner Nick Naclerio, Ph.D., is the former SVP of Corporate and Venture Development at Illumina. Illumina Ventures' investment in Luna DNA underscores the shared vision to accelerate medical discovery and positively impact humanity through science.
"There has been an explosion in the amount of human genome sequencing, yet much of the data remains locked in proprietary corporate databases and segregated from other types of health records, limiting its utility in medical research," said Naclerio. "Luna DNA will accelerate important medical discoveries by putting individuals at the center of a cooperative effort to aggregate and organize a community-owned repository of longitudinal health data."
Arch Venture Partners, co-founded by managing director Robert Nelsen, provides seed and early-stage venture capital for startups focused in information technology, life sciences and physical sciences. Arch's portfolio includes Illumina, Illumina spinout GRAIL, Juno Therapeutics, Bluebird Bio, among others.
"This is an exciting time in the field of genomics and biotech," said Nelsen. "Luna DNA's novel approach to transparency, rewards, and focus on discovery for the greater good will drive community participation and improved medical research."
Luna DNA's approach to medical research and discovery starts with the individual. Founded as a Public Benefit Corporation, Luna believes people have the right to own and share their genomic and health information for the greater good of the community. Through the community-owned approach, members are viewed as equitable partners and awarded shares of ownership in exchange for their DNA and other medical record contributions. Earnings from medical discoveries are passed through to the shareholders.
"We are proud to have the right partners at our side as we continue on our charter of value creation and the greater good of genomic discovery," said Dawn Barry, president and co-founder, Luna DNA. "Our team sincerely values our investors' shared passion for a people-centered model to powering discovery research."
This additional financing brings the company's total to-date funding to $4 million. Existing individual investors include Dr. David R. Walt, co-founder of and advisor to Illumina, and Gavin Saitowitz, CEO and co-founder of Prelude Capital.
About Luna DNA Luna DNA is the first genomic and medical research database owned by its community. A Public Benefit Corporation, Luna DNA enables people to share their health data for medical research for the greater good of the community. Members also get to share the earnings that come from medical breakthroughs through shared community ownership of the database. The company is headquartered in Solana Beach, Calif. and was founded in 2017. Luna DNA is led by a robust executive team and advisory board, including several Illumina veterans, industry academics, large scale internet communities, and financial executives.