LunaPBC raises $4.6 million to accelerate the growth of LunaDNA, the first community-owned genomic & health data platform
Back in May 2018, we wrote about LunaDNA, a new startup that is creating a database of donated DNA, health records and diet/exercise information for medical researchers while rewarding people who voluntarily share their health data.
LunaDNA is the first health and genomic data platform owned by its community of personal health information donors. Unlike Ancestry.com and 23andMe, Luna DNA does not provide DNA sequencing or analysis itself. Instead, Luna DNA incentivizes the sharing of health and DNA data for research. LunaDNA rewards people for sharing the data they already own while contributing to medical research and discovery that saves lives.
Now LunaPBC, the founder of LunaDNA, today announced it has closed $4.6 million in new funding to accelerate research partnerships, onboard new partners such as Genetic Alliance, and expand platform development and marketing teams. The new round, which brings the total funding to date to $7.6 million, was back by key investors including ARCH Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, F-Prime Capital, Illumina Ventures, and Osage University Partners.
The LunaDNA platform is the first of its kind to reward individuals for sharing health data. The platform promises utility to pharmaceutical, insurance, and healthcare IT companies, as they improve health outcomes through the discovery of new therapies and a deeper understanding of patient outcomes. The funds will be used to accelerate research partnerships, onboard new partners such as Genetic Alliance, and expand platform development and marketing teams.
LunaDNA was created by the privately-owned Public Benefit Corporation, LunaPBC, founded in 2017 and headquartered in La Jolla, California. The LunaPBC team, investors, and advisors are renowned in the patient-advocacy, health, and science fields, including several former chief executives of Illumina, industry academics, and financial executives.
In December 2018, LunaDNA received precedent-setting qualification from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to recognize an individual’s genomic and health data as currency with which to acquire shares of ownership in the Company. This unique offering ensures members share in the value created from research performed on the platform. Members have the opportunity to advance research, receive shares in the Company commensurate with their contribution activity, and engage with utility apps and partners that align with their interests. LunaDNA’s business model and core pillars are based on individual data control, transparency, and community, including protecting the anonymity of members.
“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.
Genetic Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to providing ordinary people with powerful tools to transform research, is a recently announced LunaPBC partner. They are leveraging LunaDNA’s data stewardship model for their 45 disease communities representing more than 50,000 patients. LunaPBC’s new funding is accelerating the integration of Genetic Alliance’s Platform for Engaging Everyone Responsibly with LunaDNA, to provide individuals and communities with more resources to support their health management while maximizing research opportunities.
ARCH Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, F-Prime Capital, Illumina Ventures, and Osage University Partners all bring unique perspectives and business expertise to LunaPBC. ARCH Venture Partners, F-Prime Capital and Illumina Ventures are known for their impactful investments in health and science. Bain Capital Ventures brings remarkable consumer centricity and Osage University Partners are experts in building university relationships that support LunaPBC’s member and discovery goals.
“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 Bob Kain, CEO and co-founder, LunaPBC.
LunaDNA currently accepts DNA files from vendors including 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, and FamilyTree DNA, as well as LunaDNA-generated health surveys. 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, and many more.
LunaDNA is the first health and genomic data platform owned by its community of personal health information donors. 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 created from health discoveries and medical breakthroughs.