Nucleus Genomics, a genetic testing company focused on calculating a patient’s risk of certain diseases, is adding $14 million to their initial funding round. With this round, the company has raised a total of $17.5 million.
This seed plus funding round was led by Alexis Ohanian’s 776. Ohanian joins investors such as Founders Fund, Adrian Aoun (CEO at Forward Health), Brent Saunders (former CEO at Allergan), Matteo Franceschetti (CEO at Eight Sleep) and others . Nucleus originally announced a $3.5 million seed round in December 2021.
Typically, Nucleus users upload their own genetic results previously obtained by a home testing company such as 23andMe or Ancestry. Next, Nucleus calculates polygenic risk scores, a measure that indicates a genetic predisposition to a potential condition, and provides information about that risk on their platform. Customers also have the option to order their own genetic testing kit provided by the company.
Polygenic risk scores have been examined for their potential bias. In a study published in the National Library of Medicine, nearly 80% of participants in genetic studies (and the basis of the evaluation) are of European descent and do not account for demographic differences, such as race.
“When it comes to genetics, they are so European-biased, so when we build models, we want to make sure the models work for everyone, not just the United States or whatever,” said founder and CEO Kian Sadeghi.
While Nucleus allows users to upload their genetic information obtained by a third party, Sadeghi said there is “no need for a formal partnership” with those companies.
Until now, the company has been “focused on assessing risk”, but funds from this round will be used to expand their current team in several areas. In addition, the company will set up its own genetic testing infrastructure and buy test kits in bulk.
Sadeghi added that he wants (and will allow) users to have the most control over their data.
When a user logs into the platform, they are asked how they would like their data to be shared, or even, in addition to offering users the option, if users wish, to provide data to research groups to “advance research and medicine.” ” according to the company.
“Nucleus believes very much in a fundamental ownership and management of data,” Sadeghi said. “We are, as it were, built in our DNA on maximum data ownership and data management. You decide whether your data is shared, and if so, with whom, when and how.”
However, the company has yet to launch mainstream and it’s unclear what this will look like for users on the company’s platform.
The company suggested in an interview with BestFitnessBands that there would be an opportunity to expand into an international market, and for Sadeghi, he said it aligns with the vision he’s had since day one.
“When we say the human genome and every smartphone, we’re not kidding,” Sadeghi said. “We really see a world beyond the borders of the United States where people can engage and communicate with each other and take control of their health.”