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Genomics as the Next “Information Technology” Investment Category

Many of you know that I read various venture capital blogs as my hobby. My favorite is Fred Wilson’s blog. I’ve gleaned so much from his blog that’s helped me personally and professionally. When I know I have some blogs from Fred in my feed reader (which I usually do since he blogs every day), it’s like anticipating a delicious dessert since I know reading his blogs will be a fun experience (yes, I’m a nerd like that).

My Fred Wilson fandom aside, I was fascinated by Fred’s 2017 predictions including this one about genomics:

Tech investors will start to adopt genomics as an additional “information technology” investment category, blurring the distinction between life science and tech investors that has existed in the VC sector for the past thirty years. This will lead to a funding frenzy and many investments will go badly. But there will be big winners to be had in this sector and it will be an important category for VCs for the foreseeable future.

The timing for this is interesting since this week is CES. Last year at CES I moderated a panel on genomics. I led off the panel by saying, “Thanks for coming in from looking at all the iPhone cases to talk about something a little more substantial.” Needless to say, I’m quite bullish on what’s going to be possible with genomics. Although, I think Fred might be a little ahead of the curve on when tech and genomics will merge.

What’s interesting is that there should be an overlap in tech and genomics. How is creating some sort of healthcare analytics any different than doing the same with genomic data? Certainly, you could argue that genomic data is much more challenging and complex, but at the end of the day it’s still about culling through and understanding the data. For some reason though when we say genomics we think that it’s a unique class of investment. In most cases, it’s shouldn’t be all that different.

I do think Fred is spot on when he talks about many genomic investments going badly and many of them being big winners. In that way, it kind of feels more like pharma investment than it does technology. Maybe that’s why people feel like genomic medicine investments aren’t technology investments.

It’s going to be fun to see the genomic market play out. I’m also interested in the companies that are going to make our efforts available to a much broader group of people. I imagine that’s the type of investments that Fred Wilson and USV would like to make. They aren’t likely as interested in investing in the genomic findings, but the genomic tools that will empower anyone to make a genomic discovery. Or possibly the platform that will share and commercialize genomic findings. Those are both really interesting areas that I bet hits Fred’s investment themes well.

January 4, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Will We Be Sequencing Genomes at Home?

When I look at the digital health market, I see amazing things happening with wearable technology and digital health apps. I’m even enamored by how much impact the right text message at the right time can impact a person’s health. No doubt, I’m impressed by the simple solutions that seem obvious once someone’s actually implemented it.

While these are all impressive, I think nothing will have a bigger impact on our health than what’s happening with genomic medicine. What’s crazy to me is how quickly genomic sequencing has become accessible to everyone. The Medical Futurist, Berci Meskó, MD, PhD, shared this great National HUman Genome Research Institute chart which illustrates how quickly the cost to sequence a genome has dropped.

Cost of Genome Sequencing Over Time

In Berci’s post he suggests that one day soon it will cost more to mail in your sample than it costs to actually sequence your genome. Will we all have genomic sequencers in our homes like we all have thermometers today? Probably not, but given the cost curve we could if we wanted to have it.

This type of inexpensive genomic sequencing is going to change the way we’re treated by doctors. Given the pace of genomic sequencing, we’re certain to have all this genomic data before we really even know what to do with it. That’s normal since most innovations require us to have the data before we realize how that data can be used. In fact, the coolest innovations in the world often combined a whole series of small innovations. The same will be true as we extract value from our genomic data.

Have you sequenced your genome? Did it provide you any insights that were valuable to you?

July 27, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.