The Precision Medicine Revolution: Guest Christine Jones

Oct 23, 2020 | Blog


Issue #67. Friday, October 23

Hello Everyone,

For this edition of the Zoic newsletter, we will be reviewing recent acquisition activity and new technologies in diagnostics, brain health, robotic surgery, and vascular surgical devices. There has actually been an increase in medical device acquisitions since August due to low-interest rates. This includes acquisitions of operating companies that add to the acquirer’s products and new startup purchases.

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The Precision Medicine Revolution: Guest Christine Jones
Market Meditations brings guest Christine Jones to the show to share and discuss her current role as COO at The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), and it’s mission to fund the world’s most promising research to improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of prostate cancer and ultimately cure it for good. Together, they cover the precision medicine revolution, PCF’s impact across all cancers, and the role of genetics.

Christine is an American business executive, civic leader, author, and politician from Phoenix, Arizona, but is best known for her service as General Counsel and Executive Vice President of The Go Daddy Group Inc., until 2012, where she managed all legal affairs, most notably issues relating to intellectual property.

Jones frequently represented Go Daddy and its industry as a witness at congressional hearings about various Internet issues. She also helped drive federal Internet-related legislation, including laws to keep the Web safe from child predators and rogue online pharmacies. For example, she helped push through bills such as the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act, the Protect Our Children Act, and the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act. These bills were signed into law by President Bush in 2008 and have been used by law enforcement to shut down illegal online drug sellers and prosecute online child predators.
Christine’s Bio on LinkedIn

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Deal Flow News & Insights

Medical Device Mergers & Acquisitions Driven by Low-Interest Rates
We have discussed previously how important sample preparation is for blood sampling and diagnostics. This is a required step for all lab blood tests now and requires about a dozen steps, trained personnel, and reagents. Companies are still looking to acquire technologies for this space, including Qiagen, a major player. At the moment, we still see mostly incremental innovations such as more automation and efficient reagent use. We still have not seen anything transformative in this space, such a methods that drastically (i.e., more than 10x) decrease the cost and time required today.
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We still see more devices for addressing brain conditions. Now, even migraines can potentially be addressed with a recently approved device. This can be a good alternative for pharmaceutical treatments, and may apply to other brain conditions. The market may actually be getting crowded, with a multitude of devices for specific conditions. This may lead to confusion and competition for which device a physician to prescribe. We may start to see some consolidation in this space, and technologies that are more true platforms that can be used for multiple conditions continue to be developed.
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We also see the same trends in robotic surgery. A company with a device intended for brain surgery had recent success raising money. Much like with noninvasive devices above, we anticipate some consolidation here, either through acquisitions by companies such as Intuitive or merging of IP portfolios. We also see some good innovations in this space, but still not too many transformative innovations. These would be robotic platforms that can be used for multiple indications and present a massive improvement over any current or in development technologies.
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The vascular device space is also seeing this increase in acquisitions, with Philips acquiring a company recently. This vascular technology is part of an attempt to reduce or even eliminate the amount of metal in vascular implants. Current implants, most notably stents, are frequently metallic and thus require the patient to take blood thinners for a long period of time after the surgery. Particular blood thinners such as Warfarin can be harmful to long-term health. Removing metal or replacing them with more biologically friendly or even resorbable materials can make a great difference in the large number of vascular surgeries done each year.
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Finally, we see more and more blood tests coming out for markers in general and mental conditions. For example, a novel blood test in research shows promise in predicting psychotic disorders years in advance. For these conditions, there is no diagnostic method, let alone an early detector. Diagnosis is still mostly qualitative and done through behavior and interactions. An early diagnosis can make a massive difference for potentially millions of people and perhaps guide early intervention. This early intervention can prevent later-stage disease and involve less harmful treatments than are used today, especially pharmaceuticals.Read More

What We’re Reading
Alphabet’s M&A Activity Drops as US Files Landmark Antitrust Suit
New Data Shows the Number of Women-Led VC Funds is Exploding
 The Verge

FDA Approves Remdesivir to Treat COVID-19
Venture Funding Trends Intact

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

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