Luna DNA, a San Diego, Calif.—based genomic and medical research knowledge base powered by the blockchain and owned by its community, raised $2M in seed funding.
Several individual investors and former executives from Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) participated in the round including:
– Dr. Scott Kahn, former chief information officer at Illumina, and chief information officer of the company;
– 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.
A Public Benefit Corporation, Luna DNA empowers people to own and share their genomic information for the community and medical research. Through its 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 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 company is led by:
– 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);
– co-founder Michael Witz (cryptocurrency investor; Redemption Games CEO and founder; Y Combinator alumni); and
– Dr. Kahn.
Luna DNA’s 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. 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.