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
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