Nebula Genomics, a personal genomics company whose co-founders include George Church, PhD, has launched a platform enabling users to have their whole genome sequenced in return for sharing access to their genomic data.
Users seeking immediate sequencing of their personal genome can buy the service starting at $99—a reduction in price from $150, according to Nebula’s website—which will allow them to access an analysis of their ancestry and inherited traits.
However, users who choose to answer health-related questions can earn credits from Nebula that will be redeemable for offerings that include free personal genome sequencing. Nebula consumers who share information about their health will, in return, be able to attract via the company’s nebula.org platform researchers who agree to pay their sequencing costs in exchange for access to their genomic data.
“Nebula will enable individuals to get sequenced at much lower cost through sequencing subsidies paid by the biopharma industry,” stated Dr. Church, who is also a professor at Harvard Medical School and MIT. “We need to bring the costs of personal genome sequencing close to zero to achieve mass adoption.”
Users retain full control of their data, Nebula insists, with the privacy of that data through encryption-based secure computing based on a digital decentralized blockchain. Users can decide who has access to their data, since they will be informed who is requesting access to their data—and for what purpose, with the power to decline data access requests, according to the company.
Nebula said it also developing encryption-based, privacy-enhancing technologies designed to help protect shared genomic data.
Nebula.org is being designed to aggregate genetic information for researchers to use toward advancing precision medicine by accelerating drug development and streamlining clinical trials. Over time, Nebula envisions its platform evolving into a genomic and health data marketplace, through which researchers will pay users for sharing their health and genomic data.
“For far too long, companies offering genetic testing have asked their customers to simply give away their valuable genomic data, and then have sold it without their knowledge,” said Kamal Obbad, CEO and co-founder of Nebula Genomics. “We want to change this and make people feel comfortable about personal genome sequencing by enabling data sharing in a secure, transparent and equitable manner.”
Obbad and Dr. Church co-founded Nebula along with Dennis Grishin, the company’s CSO and a Boehringer Ingelheim PhD Fellow in Genetics and Genomics at Harvard University.