Nebula Genomics, EMD Serono Partner To Pilot Blockchain For Genomic Data

Nebula Genomics, EMD Serono Partner To Pilot Blockchain For Genomic Data

June 13, 2019

Nebula Genomic, a blockchain-enabled genome sequencing startup, has signed an agreement with biopharmaceutical firm EMD Serono for the latter to access genomic data on Nebula’s blockchain network for genomic data sharing.

Founded by Harvard genomics pioneer George Church, along with Harvard researchers Dennis Grishin and Kamal Obbad, Nebula Genomics seeks to usher in the era of personal genomics by building a distributed platform that will accelerate genomic data generation, facilitate data access and streamline data analysis. The Nebula platform uses blockchain and privacy-preserving technologies to enable individuals to maintain control of their personal genomic data, share it securely and get compensated equitably. The goal of the platform is to make large genomic datasets available to researchers to help advance understanding of human genetics, accelerate drug discovery and streamline clinical trials.

EMD Serono, the biopharmaceutical arm of Merck KGaA – a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Germany, is engaged in the discovery, research and development of medicines for patients with difficult to treat diseases. Building on a proven legacy and deep expertise in neurology, fertility and endocrinology, EMD Serono is developing potential new oncology and immuno-oncology medicines while continuing to explore potential therapeutic options for diseases such as psoriasis, lupus and multiple sclerosis.

As part of the agreement, Nebula will grant EMD Serono access to genomic data for drug research. It will help EMD Serono enhance its research efforts by supporting its scientists as they develop potential new medicines, using Nebula’s network of anonymized genomic data.

Dennis Grishin, Chief Scientific Officer of Nebula Genomics, said that their collaboration with EMD Serono is the first validation of their model for sponsored sequencing.

“This collaboration pioneers a new business model in personal genomics that benefits both individuals and researchers such as those at EMD Serono,” said Grishin. “We want to help patients benefit from their data and also empower them to actively contribute to research. Our goal is to spearhead a more patient-centric approach to medical research where pharmaceutical companies and patients are working together to accelerate drug development.”

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