Enabling the Future of the Human Microbiome

Jul 19, 2019 | Blog


Issue #36. Friday, July 19

Hello Everyone,

For this edition of the Zoic newsletter, we are featuring some new diagnostics, including one for gut bacteria as well as a whole host of non-invasive nerve stimulators like we have sometimes seen before. Additionally, our upcoming issues of the Deal Flow Update will host guest contributions from the larger life sciences and medical diagnostics fields as well as topics covering healthcare policy and advocation.

If this is your first issue, please subscribe and consider sharing with others. Additionally, we welcome news from our readers, if you’re up to something interesting, let us know. Email chad@zoiccapital.com

Enabling The Future of The Human Microbiome

Diagnosing and guiding treatment from gut bacteria continues to be an important theme and focus area for us. Companies that can accurately diagnose will be valuable for physicians, patients, and pharma companies. There are sophisticated methods to do the diagnosis, but just as important is the sample collection. This is still a relatively primitive stool collection process. Advances in collecting samples, and perhaps even non-invasive methods can dramatically increase the number of samples collected, which improve the existing diagnostic methods’ accuracy and make it easier for healthy and non-healthy people.

Another recent diagnostic topic is liquid biopsy; using a small blood sample to identify, early on severe conditions such as cancer. Recent results from one of the major companies in this space, Grail, shows very promising data that shows not just early detection but also determine the origin point of the cancer.

Also in the area of diagnostics, but also related to a previous topic of immune therapy is a recent IPO. This company is sequencing patient samples in order to better understand the immune system. The data will then be used to better find and diagnose immune-related conditions and also design new immune-based or immune affecting therapies.

Our next three technologies all involve non-invasive neural modulation with directed energy. This has been a highly recurrent theme in our newsletter. The promise is the ability to affect pathways without the need for pharmaceuticals or even invasive devices. The convergence is happening now due to advances in microelectronics, fiber optics and the machine learning that is sometimes required to drive these systems. These systems are showing promise, and are on the market for various conditions. The first example is a neuromodulation system recently approved in Europe for treating back pain, which can be used for other forms of chronic and acute pain.

Similarly, our next technologies are non-invasive neurostimulation systems for treating migraine headaches. One particular system uses electrical impulses, delivered to the trigeminal nerve. There are several of these nerves (such as, additionally, the vagus nerve) that are frequent targets of these new systems as they have been shown to play prominent roles in multiple systems. This can include pain receptors but also gastric and cardiovascular functions.

Neal Mody talks with special guest Deepak Hegde about entrepreneurs as agents of change within capitalism. Hegde further explains his academic research and interest in the paradox of entrepreneurs in society as they are often adversely selected individuals with rejection from the traditional job market.

Listen in on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and Soundcloud.

Deepak Hegde is an Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at NYU Stern School of Business as well as the Director of the Endless Frontier Labs at NYU Stern. Learn more about Deepak on his website as well as at Endless Frontier Labs.

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The Biweekly Dealflow Update, curated by the team at Zoic Capital.

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