Blockchain, Genomics, And Cybersecurity: Winning Combo At Launch
BY GRACE MOEN FOR HEALTH 2.0
(Photo: Kamal Obbad being interviewed for HIMSS TV after his Launch! win at the Health 2.0 Fall Conference)
For the past 10 years, Launch! - Health 2.0’s pitch competition for brand-new technologies - has debuted companies such as sensor-embedded fabrics and telehealth platforms as well as companies such as Castlight and GoodRx, in addition to startups that have gone on to be acquired by the likes of Intel and Apple. With Health 2.0’s infamous 3.5 minute demo format, Launch! participants present their highly anticipated product to an eager audience of 2,000 health care executives, potential partners, collaborators, and investors. To win is to impress, and the winner is determined by method of audience voting for their favorite, most disruptive new technology.
At the 12th Annual Health 2.0 Fall Conference this September, a company by the name of Nebula Genomics took the crown in a sweeping win. Read on for our interview with co-founder and CEO Kamal Obbad on the imperative of genomic data, the future of security, and how his company is disrupting the status quo.
Health 2.0: Congratulations on winning Launch! this year! Tell us how Nebula Genomics works.
Kamal Obbad: Nebula Genomics is a blockchain-based platform for genomic data storage and sharing. We allow people to get genetic testing through us while retaining verifiable control over their data. We also allow individuals who have been sequenced by other companies to share their data on our platform and monetize by participating in research studies.
H 2.0: Why does the world need Nebula Genomics? What is the imperative?
K.O.: We need an effective way to share genomic data. Right now, a lot of it is fragmented and lack of trust is the core reason for this. We need data owners to be incentivized to share genomic and health data with researchers for more effective drug design and personalized medicine.
H 2.0: What do you believe the future of cybersecurity will look like?
K.O.: That's a tough question. I think people are getting more concerned about how their personal data is being used. Regulations like GDPR are changing how business can leverage and store personal information. I expect users to be even more protected in the future as we see more and more security breaches and consumers suffering from them.
H 2.0: What were you working on before Nebula Genomics?
K.O.: I was at Google and also a Gates Cambridge Scholar at University of Cambridge.
H 2.0: Tell us about the experience of winning Launch!.
K.O.: Health 2.0 was a great experience to get feedback on what we were working on and that our message and product resonated well with the audience. People are serious about controlling their genomic data.
H 2.0: After your launch and subsequent win, what was the first order of business?
K.O.: Soon after launch, we opened the Nebula Genomics platform to the public. We've been featured in NPR, Wall Street Journal, and more. We've already had tremendous growth both in revenue and with users.
H 2.0: What’s next? What can users expect to see from you in the next six months? Year? Five years?
K.O.: We're going to be the go-to solution for users seeking to share and store genomic data. Over the next few years, we hope to build out an ecosystem where individuals can come to us to learn about their genomes and participate in research studies.
H 2.0: Thank you, Kamal.
K.O.: Thank you, Grace.
If you’re interested in the Nebula Genomics data marketplace, sign up here.
If you’d like to hear more from Kamal, watch his interview on HIMSS TV.