Lewes, Delaware; Tuesday, November 6, 2018: EncrypGen a blockchain-enhanced genomic data platform is announcing the world’s first Genomic data marketplace, the “Gene-Chain,” today allowing research labs of all sizes to access a growing, searchable database of de-identified genomic data coupled with self-reported phenotypic, behavioral, medical, and demographic data. The sales of data will be direct from the owner of the data to the buyer, mediated only by Gene-Chain with a small commission on each data sale for EncrypGen.
What is Gene-Chain? Gene-Chain is EncrypGen’s proprietary blockchain (a cryptographically encoded ledger) used to mediate the searching, storing, sharing, buying and selling of genomic data. It is a private network, meaning to participate, one must join the Gene-Chain community, thereby enhancing their security and privacy of genetic data on our global network.
“Until now, to buy data that is useful in research and development of new drug therapies and precision medical treatments meant paying whatever prices the big DNA testing companies demand, and without any compensation for people whose data is being sold,” remarks CEO of EncrypGen, David Koepsell, J.D/Ph.D. “The world’s first genomic data free market, built on a blockchain, ensures control and payment for data owners, and creates a new resource for researchers and pharma.”
In July 2018, DNA testing company 23andMe made headline news of a $300 million dollar deal that grants pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline access to 23andMe’s DNA databases. 23andMe and other companies in the industry are in the driver’s seat for such large sum deals because they have aggregated a lot of genomic data and self-reported user data. EncrypGen is trying to put the consumer back in the driver seat with people taking control of their own data. With the Gene-Chain, individuals own their data and choose whether to sell it for science and profit for doing so.
“Anyone can start to market their own genomic data from consumer tests like 23andMe direct to those who have been buying it from the monopolistic market that 23andMe maintains” states Koepsell. “This means more data for better science, and direct compensation for the data owners: you.”
DNA data is far more valuable to buyers when it is accompanied with a health profile which is why EncrypGen included more data points in Gene-Chain profiles. EncrypGen is encouraging people to fill out their complete profiles so that they are more valuable to doctors, scientists and genomic researchers, and they have better chances of being bought.
EncrypGen first prototyped the historic Gene-Chain in early 2017, the team steadily worked together reaching every milestone on-time (or ahead of schedule) to achieve today’s Gene-Chain marketplace launch, along with forming strategic partnerships within the industry along the way. Just a few weeks after a successful beta launch in early October, Dr. Koepsell recorded the world’s first blockchain mediated DNA data transfer via Gene-Chain.
EncrypGen embarked on a mission to develop a genomic data marketplace and is proud to have succeeded in delivering a functional product for which it can build upon. Multiple factors inspired EncrypGen’s co-founders Dr. David Koepsell and Dr. Vanessa Gonzalez Covarrubias to pioneer the next generation of the genomic data industry. Koepsell, an author, attorney and ethicist felt that consumers getting their DNA tested by commercial testing companies had not only lost control of how and where their most sensitive and private was being shared and stored, but also challenged the ethics of the DNA testing companies business model that sells their customer’s DNA data to big pharma labs with no remuneration for the data owner. In this model the customer is paying for a DNA test, and in essence is paying to supply the testing company with its most valuable asset. The $300M exclusive deal between 23andMe and GlaxoSmithKline not only illustrates the value of the data, but it it also shows how these deals can actually restrict scientific discovery because the majority of genomic labs either can’t afford or can’t access the data. This is largely what inspired Dr. Koepsell’s wife and co-founder to join the endeavor. Dr. Covarrubias, a pharmacogenomic researcher knows the importance of labs of all sizes getting access to this valuable data and understands the financial value it has for pharmaceutical companies. Like Koepsell, Covarrubias feels that the individuals lending their DNA to pharma labs should be compensated.
The two co-founders then assembled a team to start developing the first of it’s kind, blockchain based, genomic data marketplace. The Gene-Chain DNA Data Marketplace connects health minded individuals with doctors, researchers, scientists, pharmacogenomic labs and other health science service providers to buy and sell genomic data and other health science products and services in an open, peer-to-peer marketplace.
Since starting on a prototype in early 2017, the team has hit milestone after milestone on or ahead of schedule. While the development team steadily worked it’s way towards product launch, strategic partnerships were formed and the landscape of the industry began to evolve. After launching Gene-Chain Beta, in the beginning of October, EncrypGen reached yet another milestone just a few weeks later, only this one is of historical importance. With DNA data search and filtering functions complete and a functional Buy button in the team’s development environment, Dr. Koepsell recorded the world’s first blockchain mediated DNA data transfer. Notably pleased with what his team has been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time, Koepsell smiled and said, “Pretty cool, that is a world’s first.”
With this milestone checked off the roadmap EncrypGen has officially opened the world’s first, blockchain enhanced, genomic data marketplace. Kudos to the Development Team for successfully delivering a fully functional platform on schedule. While they have accomplished their goal, their work continues on enhancing the platform and UI.
Click here to learn more about the Gene-Chain DNA Data Marketplace.
EncrypGen creates software (The Gene-Chain) that empowers consumers, researchers, and businesses to share genetic data with one another using a blockchain for enhanced privacy and security while paying each other with the DNA token. Husband and wife team, Dr. Vanessa Gonzalez Covarrubias and Dr. David Koepsell founded the company in December 2016. Dr. Covarrubias is a genomic scientist, and Dr. Koepsell is a philosopher, lawyer and author who both wanted to leverage blockchain technology to provide greater privacy for the sharing of genomic data for individuals, and to give them a means to sell their data, and at the same time make more data available for scientists.
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