Nucleus Genomics receives new funding from Alexis Ohanian to help people assess risks for specific diseases

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Nucleus Genomics, a genetic testing company dedicated to calculating a patient’s risk of certain diseases, is adding $14 million to its initial funding round. The company raised a total of $17.5 million during this round.

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This seed plus funding round was led by 776 Alexis Ohanian. Ohanian joined investors such as Founders Fund, Adrian Aoun (CEO of Forward Health), Brent Saunders (former CEO of Allergan), Matteo Franceschetti (CEO of Eight Sleep) and others. Initially, Nucleus announced a $3.5 million seed round. back in December 2021.

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Typically, Nucleus users upload their own genetic results previously obtained by a home testing company such as 23andMe or Ancestry. Nucleus will then calculate polygenic risk scores, which are a measure of genetic predisposition to a potential disease, and provide information about that risk on its platform. Customers also have the option to order their own genetic testing kit provided by the company.

Polygenic risk estimates have been carefully examined for their potential bias. AT study published in the National Library of Medicine, about 80% of participants in genetic studies (and the base of the estimate) were of European descent, and did not take into account demographic differences such as race.

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“In genetics, they are so biased towards Europe, so when we actually 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 third-party genetic information, Sadeghi said there is “no need for a formal partnership” with these companies.

So far, the company has been “focused on risk assessment”, but the funds from this round will be used to expand their current team in various areas. In addition, the company will create its own genetic testing infrastructure and purchase testing kits in bulk.

Sadeghi added that he wants (and will allow) users to have as much control over their data as possible.

When a user registers on the platform, they are asked how they would like their data to be shared, even if, in addition to being able to, if users would like to provide data to research groups to “advance research and medicine” according to the company.

“Nucleus believes a lot in fundamental data ownership and control,” Sadeghi said. “We are in our DNA, so to speak, on the maximum ownership of data and control of data. You decide whether your data will be shared and, if so, with whom, when and how.”

However, the company has yet to go mainstream and it’s unclear what that will look like for users on the company’s platform.

The company suggested in an interview with TechCrunch that there was an opportunity to go international, and Sadeghi said it was in line with the vision he had from day one.

“When we talk about the human genome and every smartphone, we are not kidding,” Sadeghi said. “We really see a world outside of the United States where people can participate, interact and take part in managing their health.”

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