TechAcute Profiles: Kent Kemmish about Science Gamification


Kent Kemmish, CEO of Molecular Reality, is developing Demonpore 64 – a nanopore-based molecular sensor marketed as a game console. Before he researched drosophila at Arizona Cancer Center and explored enzymes for breaking down age-related aggregates with Aubrey de Grey’s LysoSENS project. He also co-founded Halcyon Molecular and Synthego Inc, a top biotech unicorn specializing in CRISPR reagents today.

TechAcute Profile: Kent Kemmish

About yourself

This feels like an invitation to compose an autobiography. “How I came to be in the situation where I am now.” Very cinematic! Well, I am sitting in a little one-bedroom apartment in Mountain View with two cats and a dog, and some cool scientific instruments. How I came to be here… well, it’s an Epic Narrative that involves billionaires, historical injustices, advanced technologies, childhood dreams, heroic persistence, and curing aging.

About your company

AFAIK we’re the only startup in the world that’s leveraging gamified citizen science and an enthusiastic customer base to solve a major problem in biotech R&D: how to build utility-scale molecular sensing.

What problem in the world are you trying to solve?

The desperate need for utility-scale molecular sensing! The most important enabling technology for a bright future that no one is talking about or framing in that way exactly.

How are you trying to solve this problem?

We developed an advanced single-cell and molecule sensor that we’re marketing as a gaming console. Players put actual cells and molecules through special “nanopore cartridges”, and signals from these analytes create the gaming experience. The data contributes to a much larger scientific project to achieve utility-scale molecular sensing.

How does technology support you to achieve this goal?

We’ve been working with advanced forms of “solid-state nanopores” since 2015. You can read about it in some detail on our science page at

How does the technology work?

The best explanation can be heard early on in my recent interview on the Joe Roganoid Experiments, which you can find here on YouTube:

What are the milestones in your journey so far?

We got into Y Combinator, got a patent for an advanced molecular sensor, designed and tested a “molecular gaming console”, and built the world’s first scientific instrument control software that’s also a game.

How do you plan to grow and scale in the next 5 years?

With seed funding in the next few years, we will grow a “community of Player Scientists” who collectively will solve utility-scale molecular sensing. Then we will expand globally, post-IPO, as providers of hardware and services related to utility-scale molecular sensing.

How do you think will your market develop in the near and far future?

Right now the global market for molecular sensing in one form or another is in at least the tens of billions, depending on how you measure and define the market. We believe this will expand significantly in the 2030s as at-home molecular sensing takes over as the informational backbone of healthcare.

What challenges do you think might need to be addressed in your company very soon?

We need to find visionary angel investors who believe in and can see our unique value proposition.

How do you plan to overcome these challenges?

We have a “helluva” team working on this.

How does your business model work like?

Early on it’s based on revenue from memberships, with hardware leased to members. Later on, it’s hardware installed in people’s homes and a Comcast-like business model.


We’ve raised close to $1.6M in pre-seed funding since going through Y Combinator in 2018, and are actively seeking our seed round.

If you could give your younger self a word of advice, what would you recommend to yourself?

Stick to your guns, and have the courage to piss people off if they want you to compromise your vision. Walk away from people who think too small.

What would you suggest to someone who is yet to start their career in your industry?

Don’t. Join us instead. I’m philosophically opposed to people starting biotech startups, I just run one because I have to. This is a much longer discussion and way outside the Overton Window of the startup world!

Final remarks

We really should unite as a species to solve human biology. Think of all the emerging fancy things happening right now in AI and other fields. Will any of it matter if you get sick and die? Cancer and aging are our biggest common enemies as a species.

Kent, thank you for your contribution to TechAcute Profiles. Your thoughts and insights are greatly appreciated. We look forward to seeing more from you.

Photo credit: The photo in the feature image has been provided by Kent Kemmish with permission to be used by TechAcute.
Editorial notice: The contents from the submitter for the TechAcute profile were minimally edited for style and for grammar.

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