Japan’s Awakens gets seed funding to allow users to manage entire genome in the cloud

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See the original story in Japanese.

Silicon Valley-based Awakens, the startup run by Japanese founders developing services and research platforms leveraging full genome data, announced today that it has secured a seed funding round. This round was led by 500 Startups Japan with participation from M3 (TSE:2413), Japanese Organization for Medical Device Development, in addition to several angel investors focused on life science-centric businesses.

M3 runs Japan’s largest portal site for healthcare professionals. Angel investors participating in this round include Tomihisa Kamada (inventor of the Japanese feature phone web browser ‘i-mode‘), Tsunegoro Nishino (CEO of healthcare service company MRSO), and Hiroaki Kitano (CEO of Sony Computer Science Laboratories).

The amount of the funding has not been not disclosed. Awakens will use the funds to accelerate the development of Genome Link, the company’s software for developing integrated services on genome, with aiming to partner with more companies in Japan and the rest of the world.

The Awakens management team: L to R – CTO Kensuke Numakura, CEO Tomohiro Takano, COO Yuta Matsuda

Awakens was established in January of 2017 by three prominent scientists: CEO Tomohiro Takano who previously launched a genome-based personal medicare business called G-TAC at his previous company M3, COO Yuta Matsuda who was involved in launching the MyCode genome business at Japanese Internet giant DeNA (TSE:2432), and CTO Kensuke Numakura who is familiar with Genome Infomatics and previously worked at P5, a joint venture of Sony and M3.

Based out of genome startup-focused Illumina Accelerator in San Francisco, the team is dedicated to developing the Genomic Explorer genome data management platform for individuals as well as the Genome Link API (application programming interface) for genome service developers.

Compared to Japan, the US in fact has a larger market yet in the genome and related preventive medicine industry. Bidding on investment and business opportunities in this space, the Awakens team is devoting ttself to business and technology developments at an incubation office in Mission Bay, San Francisco. With the funds, it seems that the team is hiring several people who can work in San Francisco or remotely. For details about their recent activities and hiring positions, check out their recent blog posts on Medium.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy