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Get Paid for Your DNA, and Better The World Doing It

Get Paid for Your DNA, and Better The World Doing It

Nebula Genomics wants to sequence your DNA, and then help you get paid for it.

There are hundreds if not thousands of researchers who work every day to solve problems related to sequencing and decoding parts of the human genome. The challenge is that they work across many different institutions that must compete with each other for talent, funding, and customers. While competition fuels innovation, it also leaves a wealth of opportunity on the table – everyone could benefit from a larger, standardized data set that compiled multiple organization’s experimental data.

Given the current economic context, it is likely impossible to align the interests of these organizations so that they create an inter-institutional system to share their information. However, Nebula Genomics has created a way to capitalize on the interests of the data holders themselves – everyday people – so they can build their own massive database to help with decoding the human genome.

In addition to sequencing someone’s entire genome and generating reports about their ancestry, appearance, and sensitivities, the company also offers to store their DNA in a blockchain-secured platform so that they can be connected with companies and studies willing to pay for genomic data.

This means that after someone is on the platform, they can make money from home by answering questionnaires online and selling their answers alongside their genetic code.

In short: Nebula is crowdsourcing genomic data so it can be mined to find links between genetics and diseases. If 80% of the 7,000 rare diseases are genetic, as reported by the 2016 Shire Impact Report, then imagine how many lives will change when people can be diagnosed before symptoms even surface.

The company was founded in 2016 by CEO Kamal Obbad and chief scientific officer Dennis Grishin, alongside esteemed Harvard and MIT professor George Church – the first person to sequence the genome back in 1994. Since then, Church’s work in chip-DNA-synthesis, gene editing, and stem cell engineering has led him to start over 10 companies, and his gene sequencing startup “Veritas” is expected to play a critical role in helping Nebula grow its platform.

“Kamal and Dennis have a unique vision of leveraging blockchain to enable consumer genetic sequencing at scale, and the involvement of genomics pioneer George Church makes this a dream team. When you combine that with Nebula’s unique business model and incentive design, we believe the company can grow into a leading pioneer of the genomics age.” - Investor Tim Chang of Mayfield