Nebula Genomics, a human genome sequencing and health big data company, has recently raised $4.3 million in seed financing with leading tech and biotech VCs, to develop a cryptocurrency-based genomic marketplace that addresses privacy concerns.
According to a press release shared with CryptoGlobe, the funds are set to be used to support the company’s mission of creating a “trusted, secure, and decentralized marketplace for genomic data” in the era of genome sequencing.
The company received investments from various VCs including Khosla Ventures, Heartbeat Labs, and Mayfield. To create the marketplace the firm forged a partnership with Veritas Genetics, a leading whole genome sequencing and interpretation company, so as to connect its Nebula marketplace to Veritas’ Arvados marketplace.
The Arvados marketplace, according to the press release, is the “most widely used open-source platform for storing, sharing, and analyzing genomic data.” Its data exceeds 20 petabytes as it is globally used by research institutions and pharmaceutical companies.
Arvados is said to allow for data to be queried, regardless of its location. Using smart contracts the Nebula marketplace is set to allow companies and individuals to exchange access to specific data. Commenting on the partnership Mirza Cifric, the CEO of Veritas Genetics, stated:
Privacy and security issues are on everyone’s mind and blockchain is a promising way to address both. As our own database grown to many petabytes, together with the Nebula team we are taking the lead in our industry to protect the privacy of consumers while enabling them to participate in research and benefit from the blockchain-based marketplace Nebula is building.
The move is set to facilitate access to genomic data. Data buyers will reportedly subsidize the cost of genome sequencing and interpretation, which is set to incentive consumers to participate. These, per the press release, will be able to choose “how much and with whom their data is shared” thanks to the security of blockchain technology.
To further incentivize consumers, the Nebula marketplace is set to compensate them for their health data through a “cryptocurrency token-based payment system.” Given the platform will be based on blockchain technology, privacy and trust are ensured.
The move could help researchers in the “coming genomic age” as it’ll give them streamlined access to the “individual genomes of millions or billions” of people they need to further advance in the field.