Liquid Biopsy and Deep Brain Stimulation

Dec 11, 2019 | Blog


Issue #46. Wednesday, December 11

Hello Everyone,

For this edition of the Zoic newsletter, we’ll be reviewing deals in the early blood testing space, neural modulating as well as a growing area that may not be a match for our metrics now, but soon could be.

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Neural implants modulating microstructures in the brain. Image courtesy of MIT.
Liquid Biopsy and Deep Brain Stimulation
The liquid biopsy space looks to use blood or other biological fluid for early diagnosis of any number of conditions. The cancer liquid biopsy space continues to grow, for example another recent partnership to combine two potentially complementary technologies and resources to market a liquid biopsy test. These partnerships are common, combining a particular companies’ expertise in technology with, for example, a marketing reach that the partner has following clinical validation. Read more

There also continues to be research in finding and validating a reliable Alzheimer’s biomarker in blood. Current biomarkers, as featured in our previous newsletters, show promise, but many are early stage. Yet another technology is looking to gain further evidence in this field. At the moment, there is no early stage Alzheimer’s test that is reliable and easy to access, despite the population affected growing every year. Read more

In the field of neuromodulation, deep brain stimulation is seeing more use in a variety of conditions such as Parkinson’s or other motor function issues. This is particularly important for patients who are resistant or nonresponsive to pharmaceutical treatments. There is innovation to be found in better modalities and even the electrodes themselves, for example, replacing current electrodes can make them more effective and last longer. The same technology improvements can also apply to diagnostics, allowing potentially for better data to be gathered from neural activity. Read more

Sacral modulation devices also continue to be seen; these can be used within incontinence or even chronic pain and digestion issues. These devices continue to gain approval and acceptance in the market due to their effectiveness and lack of side effects compared to pharmaceuticals. Read more

Finally, even though we focus on short-term regulatory approvals, we still track interesting fields that still have longer approval times. These can turn into short-term approvals as acquisition activity increases and targets earlier into the development process, much like with immunotherapy. One field that we still track is gene therapy: a recent acquisition shows this space is still growing. It’s possible to have early exits in this space if a promising platform shows up and is acquired early as soon as human feasibility data is seen. Gene therapy can cross-over into immunotherapy in fact, by introducing genetic material into cancer cells or the immune system as well as for other diseases. Read more

Listen in to a new episode of the Market Meditations podcast, “Dare Not Call It Qualitative Easing: The Weakening Dollar”.

Are we going to see a continued trend in a weak dollar? When will it effect venture capital? What will the response of the central banks be and will the feds massage interest rates lower? The feds dare not call it qualitative easing, but recent cash injections signal something systemically important is happening. Join Chris and Neal as they discuss the weakening dollar and when venture capital will see the effects on companies with poor business models. Plus, both ponder the Vision Fund and its strategy of t-shirt cannoning the money of investors into speculative money losing ventures.

The newest episode can be found on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and Soundcloud.

About the Market Meditations podcast
#Zoic Portfolio News
Marubeni Corporation and Optina Diagnostics agreed to enter into a market development partnership to bring Optina’s early dementia diagnosis platform to the Japanese market.

The partnership between these two companies has come at the perfect time; Marubeni is currently accelerating its activities in utilizing AI technology in healthcare-related business, and Optina is currently aiming for early entry into the Japanese market. Marubeni will provide support in initiatives such as support for the application of the approval process with relevant authorities, and cooperation with opinion leaders in the dementia field in order to commercialize the Retinal Deep Phenotyping platform developed by Optina. 

Marubeni and Optina will contribute to resolving issues connected to Japan’s aging society, working to bring to market accurate, non-invasive optical tests to change the status quo and better understand the causes of memory loss.

Press Release
Optina Diagnostics 
What We’re Reading
Venture Investing Is Becoming Increasingly Popular For Banks During Falling Interest Rates
Mood-Altering Wearables Are Silicon Valley’s Newest Delusion
Time Machines & Species Failure
Warren Buffett’s Rocky Relationship With PE Continues As He Loses $6B Deal

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

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