Genomic and health data platform company LunaPBC announced that it has raised $4.6 million in a new round of funding. Including this round of funding, LunaPBC has raised $7.6 million total. ARCH Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, F-Prime Capital, Illumina Ventures, and Osage University Partners also participated in this round.
LunaPBC is known as the owners of LunaDNA. What is LunaDNA? It is the first health and genomic data platform owned by its community of personal health information donors. And LunaDNA empowers individuals to share their health data for medical research and the greater good of the community. As community owners in the LunaDNA platform, members share in the value that is created from health discoveries and medical breakthroughs.
The LunaDNA platform is going to be the first of its kind to reward individuals for sharing health data. And the platform promises utility to pharmaceutical, insurance, and healthcare IT companies as it improves health outcomes through the discovery of new therapies and a deeper understanding of patient outcomes.
In December 2018, LunaDNA received a precedent-setting qualification from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for recognizing an individual’s genomic and health data as currency with which to acquire shares of ownership in the company. This unique offering enables members are able to share in the value created from research performed on the platform.
LunaDNA currently accepts DNA files from vendors like 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, and FamilyTree DNA along with LunaDNA-generated health surveys. And the acceptance of new information types will be accelerated as a result of funding and include whole genome and exome DNA files, RNA, microbiome, electronic health records (EHRs), fitness and activity trackers, smart devices, etc.
“The timing is right to be changing the paradigm in data stewardship. There is a growing dissatisfaction with the use and exploitation of personal health data today. Our community ownership solution and its underlying technology provide individuals with transparency, control, and data dividends. LunaPBC’s progress and growth is reflected in the continued hiring of top tier talent, on-boarding of new investors, expanding office space in La Jolla, CA, and growth in LunaDNA membership. New corporate advisors include Jason Paragas, Integral Health; Doug Harrison, founder of Harrison Group; and Chris Cabou, now retired general counsel at Illumina,” said LunaPBC CEO and co-founder Bob Kain.
Kain is known as a pioneer in genomics. At Illumina, he led the invention of the modern, high throughput genome sequencer that brought the cost from millions of dollars down to under $1,000.
And LunaPBC co-founder and president Dawn Barry previously worked as the the Vice President of Applied Genomics at Illumina. Before working at Illumina, Barry spent seven years working at Genaissance Pharmaceuticals — which is one of the first first genomics startups focused on individualized medicine along with DNA-based diagnostic testing.
With this round of funding, LunaPBC is going to accelerate research partnerships, onboard new partners like Genetic Alliance, and expand platform development and marketing teams. Genetic Alliance is a non-profit dedicated to providing ordinary people with powerful tools for transforming research. And Genetic Alliance is utilizing LunaDNA’s data stewardship model for their 45 disease communities representing more than 50,000 patients.
LunaPBC’s new funding will accelerate the integration of Genetic Alliance’s Platform for Engaging Everyone Responsibly with LunaDNA in order to provide individuals and communities with more resources for supporting their health management while maximizing research opportunities.
“It’s the right time to reimagine the role and rights of individuals across the globe in driving health discovery with their life data. We are excited about LunaPBC’s people-first model, which empowers individuals as valued partners not just research subjects; will create a deeper dataset with environment-specific and people-reported data; and has an intentional public benefit component to ensure long-standing impact in our communities,” said Yumin Choi, partner, Bain Capital Ventures.