Where We Are Investing Now: Life Sciences, Part 1

Photo by  Karim Ghantous  on  Unsplash

Our funds center around the emerging science of health and happiness. No areas of science are more central to that theme than bioscience and neuroscience.

With the initiation of Joyance Partners, our fund focused on delightful moments, we have added deep domain expertise in these areas and evaluated literally thousands of brand new startups developing dramatic deep science solutions related to bio or neuro.

We’ve learned a lot about these areas of science over the past year. The most powerful insight was this: With the direction science is going, neuro and bio are no longer discreet areas of science. In fact, they increasingly overlap.

This is most pronounced in the microbiome, one of the startling and potentially revolutionary new arenas of scientific discovery. The actions of the microbiome show clear connections between changes in body biology and in brain action and vice versa. Alter the biome, and mood, emotion, and memory capacity shift. Shift brain behaviors in certain key ways, and the biome causes entire biological systems to shift. The microbiome seems to point toward the long-sought connection between our minds and our meat.

Thus, for 2019, we have decided to bring bio and neuro together into a single super focus area for our funds. We are calling this “life sciences,” simply, to keep our awareness as broad as possible. But, under the hood, we have a rather thorough taxonomy for our focus.

This week, I will look into the more medical and care centric aspects of our Life Sciences investment focus. Next week, I will turn to the softer science elements we will be paying attention to this year.

When it comes to deep science, our 2019 Life Sciences focus will be on:

1. Neuroscience and neurotech

Neuroscience molecular approaches to treat:

  • Mental disorders such as depression, anxiety or improve cognitive behavior 

  • Neuronal degeneration diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases

  • Emerging applications using neuro approaches to manage obesity and pain

New technology approaches to:

  • Neuromodulation - shifts in brain wave and other neural actions

  • Neuroprosthetics - devices that can improve, extend or otherwise impact brain function

  • Neurosensing - the reception and capture of neurological information in useful forms

 2. AR/VR for treatment of disease and neurological disease

  • Therapeutics for cognitive disorders

  • Assessments of mental states and responses to treatment

  • Eye disease alteration and management

  • Immersive medical training 

3. AI in health

  • As a device for diagnostic and monitoring tools

  • For drug discovery

  • To manage clinical trials

  • To improve patient care and monitoring

4. Longevity

  • Pharmaceutical solutions, such as senolytics, that can extend effective lifespan

  • Dietary solutions that reduce inflammation, impact chronic conditions, or delay their onset

  • Diagnostic tools that capture age related issues at the earliest possible moment

  • Patient monitoring tools, both neuro and bio-based 

  • IoT/sensors/ robotics that improve care efficiency

These areas, we feel, hold promise for transforming diagnosis, disease management (or even its delay and moderation) and personalizing care.

We also see ways neuro and bio sciences can directly impact individual lives over the next few years. More on those areas of focus next week.

By Managing Partner Mike Edelhart