Future Biotech Giants: 11 Life Science Entrepreneurs Under 30
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
If there’s one reason to view biotech as the new center for the tech industry boom, it may be the number of 20-somethings founding biotech startups. Forbes came out with its Forbes 30 Under 30, looking at companies founded by 20-something entrepreneurs. Here’s a look at the top 11 who are involved in life science companies.
Matthew De Silva, 29
Founder, Notable Labs
Based in San Francisco, Calif., Notable Labs uses an automated system to screen tumor samples for FDA-approved drugs that have published anti-cancer effects, test drug combinations against the tumor and provide physicians with a report.
De Silva was a hedge fund manager with Thiel Capital. In the fall of 2013, his father was diagnosed with brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme. He did some research and teamed up with then pre-med student Pete Quinzio to found the Y Combinator-backed Notable Labs.
Riley Ennis, 23 and Gabriel Otte, 29
Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Freenome utilizes a liquid biopsy diagnosis platform that detects the cell-free DNA sequencing of cancer. It received $5.5 million in seed funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Founders Fund, Data Collective, and Third Kind Venture Capital.
David Hysong, 29
Founder, Shepherd Therapeutics
As Forbes writes, “By age 27, David Hysong had investigated the sexual enslavement of children in Cambodia and trained as a Navy SEAL. Then he found out he had a rare, untreatable, and lethal form of head-and-neck cancer. He’s founded a company, Shepherd Bio, to try and find treatments for rare cancers like his.”
Shepherd is located in Allston, Mass. and Nasvhille, Tenn. Hysong partnered with Gene Williams, a former Genzyme senior vice president, to found the company. The focus is specifically on rare cancers, although it’s not entirely clear what the company is doing. Its website says it has an “innovative business model which combines a diversified and platform-agnostic portfolio, strong relationships with disease-specific research foundations, and the ability to leverage top industry talent and expertise using a virtual model.”
Vivek Kopparthi, 27
Based in Scottsdale, Ariz., NeoLight has developed a phototherapy device for portable use at home, primarily for the treatment of newborn jaundice. It is also working on another to treat infant hypothermia.
Kopparthi has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s in management. His bio indicates he has held “leadership roles in organizations with 100+ employees, advised tech start-ups, and has consulted with major corporations.”
Jessica Traver, 25 and
Nicole Moskowitz, 26
Cofounders, IntuiTap Medical
With offices in Houston, Texas and Chicago, Ill., IntuiTap developed a medical device for spinal punctures that integrates imaging of the spine with needle guidance and analytics.
Moskowitz, the company’s cofounder and chief technical officer, has a background in biomedical engineering, physics, and art from Columbia University. Traver, the company’s chief executive officer, was trained in mechanical engineering at Purdue University, with a strong foundation in product development and design.
Ashwin Pushpala, 28
Based in San Francisco, Calif., Sano merges a blood glucose monitor with a Fitbit approach. The company has raised $18.75 million to develop a wearable monitor that assesses blood sugar levels. It involves a minimally invasive wearable patch. It measures interstitial fluid in the outer layer of the skin and provides real-time, continuous glucose monitoring that it sends to a mobile app.
Rohan Suri, 17
Founder, Averia Health Solutions
Suri’s invention is an app that can diagnose concussions. It involves a smartphone app, and a specially designed headset. Suri was a student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, when he and his invention were selected from almost 100 entries at the innovation symposium at Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC.
The previous year Suri invented a computational model for understanding the Ebola outbreak and ways to allocate resources.
Austin Walker, 28
Innovein is developing a prosthetic valve to treat patients with blood flow problems related to malfunctioning valves in their veins. The device and procedure has been validated in animal trials and in laboratories and is expected to start human trials next year.
Tim Wang, 28
Cofounder, KSQ Therapeutics
Located in Cambridge, Mass., KSQ Therapeutics uses CRISPR gene-editing technology to develop new drugs, targeting cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. The company is backed by Flagship Ventures and Polaris Partners.