How can we protect our DNA - and make money from it?


Manage episode 283120722 series 182791
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Jillian Godsil talks with Dr David Koepsell, CEO and founder of EncrypGen, a blockchain platform that allows people save, share and even sell their DNA. Currently big companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry provide DNA services; people use them to find out where they come from but as they are purchasing the service, they are asked will they agree to permit their data be shared for science. An innocuous enough question except that the tests are loss leaders and in turn these platforms sell on the DNA data for hundreds and thousands of dollars. In an unregulated market, is it right for corporates to make money off people’s personal data?

It's a complex area but David and EncrypGen are looking to make it safer, more transparent and even allow people make money directly from their data. Check out for more information. Your data, your DNA and your money.

More on David:

In 2017 David launched EncrypGen and went live in 2018. The platform is a marketplace for people to record their DNA and sell it to pharmaceutical companies. The reason he set it up was as an antheses to a billion dollar business that had sprung up around DNA since the human genome was first mapped at the turn of this century.

Commercial companies such as 23andMe and are huge multimillion-dollar businesses that provide genome sequencing for individuals at a very low cost. Indeed, the cost of obtaining your genome is around $90 which is a loss leader. In an industry that is pretty much unregulated, it is estimated that this data is sold at least 200 times over.

The industry on the consumer side is termed recreational, but each person is asked at time of purchase will they allow their data to be ‘used for science’. It is understood that some 80% of people comply. This then allows the testing companies to sell the data for commerce. It is mostly sold to pharmaceutical companies which in turn use it for science but this middle section is pure commerce and the space which EncrypGen wishes to disrupt.

“There is no transparency as to the path the data sets take after being purchased. This has other implications for use which is why we want to offer a marketplace that uses blockchain to track the transactions – and returns control to the people who submit the data as well as monetary rewards.”

More on Jillian - Jillian is an award winning journalist, broadcaster and author. She is passionate about blockchain.

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