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49ers partner with biotech start-up working on human genome research

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The San Francisco 49ers have created a lot of sponsorship opportunities at Levi’s Stadium, and they might now have the most original such deal. The team has signed a deal with a biotech start-up company called ORIG3N. Colin Kaepernick and NaVorro Bowman have both taken to inserting numbers in place of letters, so I suppose this deal is kind of fitting.

ORIG3N is a company that is attempting to crowd-source medical research to some extent. They have used sponsorships of sporting events, teams, music festivals, and more to collect blood samples to support induced pluripotent stem cell research. The company has built what they say is “the world's largest uniformly consented cell repository to better understand the cellular and molecular foundations of disease.” It sounds like people can better understand their own genetics with their sample, and the company can use these samples to study a variety of genetically inherited diseases. You can lean a little more in this Forbes article.

In some ways this is a really cool idea. There is so much to be learned about diseases, and this seems like an interesting way to help improve the world of medicine. According to an ORIG3N press release, they will become part of the game-day experience, with fans able to donate blood samples to the company. They can also sign up for a various profiles for the proverbial small, nominal fee.

As part of the multi-year agreement, ORIG3N will play a featured role in enhancing the fan experience outside Levi's® Stadium with a location where fans can purchase LifeProfile genetic assessments and donate a sample of blood to LifeCapsule, the world's largest crowdsourced cell repository that is used to advance future medical and human genome research.

Each fan who participates in the ORIG3N experience will become part of the Faithful DNA program which rewards and recognizes individuals who donate a blood sample to LifeCapsule or sign up for a LifeProfile. The Faithful DNA program will provide patrons who donate their DNA to human genome research with the opportunity to win exclusive 49ers experiences and prizes.

If this helps cure various diseases, that’s certainly a plus. On the other hand, having the largest single repository of people’s blood samples is certainly cause for at least a little bit of pause. I think it’s generally a good idea, but there is always the thought of someone having access to so much private information. I can’t exactly say much about privacy considering how much of my life is on the Internet at this point. But some folks might not be so inclined to give up privacy in that regard. All that aside, it’s an interesting sponsorship idea.