As we enter 2019, a new age of medicine is taking off. The pharmaceutical industry started with small chemical entities, then developed complex proteins that interacted with different kinds of cells and has now reached the age of cellular and genomic medicine. With several genomic therapies approved and many companies working on genome therapies, medicine has gained new tools to address previously untreatable diseases and undruggable targets. This development significantly grows the addressable market for medicine.Continue reading
If I’d gotten a penny for every time somebody in Germany told me that privacy can be a competitive advantage, I’d long be driving a golden Lamborghini. With everything that has happened this year, 2019 might be the year when privacy gets relevant.Continue reading
Most people focus strictly on what they eat. However, there is an equally important component to diet and lifestyle that is not considered that much: Time! After all, eating a kebab at 2AM feels different from 2PM.
In the beginning of 2017 I read a very interesting article in the Quanta Magazin on how life and death spring from disorder. I highly recommend that you go and read it, as it presents a very clear view on energy, information and thermodynamics, and how we, and all other life-forms, can stay “ordered”.
The last part of my series is about the opportunities that “software eating bio” creates. Opportunities are plentiful in this brave new world. Due to the exponential advancements we’re seeing in processes, tools and cost, biotech is experiencing the same kind of dynamic as digital technology at large. All this fundamentally changes the economics of starting up in Bio 2.0.
Computing makes leveraging the convergence of exponential technologies in healthcare possible. The major drivers are the increase in the memory capacity and processing power and the improvement of algorithms. It serves as the connecting piece between the exponential increase in data and its potential use via the exponential decrease in cost and difficulty of biologic applications through e.g. gene editing.
Since the discovery of heredity, scientists were looking for ways of how to influence what traits were passed from one generation to the next. Although gene editing was possible in the past, the methods used so far were cumbersome, costly or error prone.
The discovery of a curious region in the genes of obscure bacteria over 20 years ago led to the development of the most convenient and precise instrument for gene editing so far: CRISPR. Since it’s first application in non-bacterial, or eukaryotic, cells, application of the technique increased exponentially.
Cost per genome has declined exponentially
Your genome contains the information that forms you. It consists of 3.2 billion base pairs and around 22.000 genes. Knowing this code of life and understanding what it does is crucial for applications ranging from medicine to agriculture. Only when we know what the genome contains, can we use tools such as CRISPR to edit it.
Because of the convergence of several exponential technologies healthcare and life sciences are currently undergoing the transition to the next era. In the coming years we’ll see companies that will develop solutions that will make treatments more effective and safer. We’ll see rapid discovery of new cures. And we’ll see ever faster development of technology that will help us stay healthier longer as well as manage our diseases better. We’re experiencing the beginning of a Cambrian explosion in digital health.
The brand pages of P&G, Unilever, or Beiersdorf neatly organize several billion dollars in revenue in a grid of small and colorful icons. While these brands lead in their respective categories, they operate with a brick and mortar mentality, which is why they represent an attractive target for startups.