Tech Companies Are Breeding Grounds for Some Big Data Life Science Company Executives

Executive Jump

Big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming increasingly important to drug developers. With the adaptation of new technologies, it’s no wonder that executives from the tech industry are finding new homes in biotech and the life sciences.

On Thursday, GeekWire highlighted four chief executive officers of life sciences companies who have made the leap from tech into the industry, including Sujal Patel, who is now the chief executive officer of Nautilus Biotechnology.

Seattle-based Nautilus is developing a platform technology that is designed to quantify and “unlock the complexity” of the proteome. The company aims to democratize access to the proteome in order to allow advancements that will benefit human health.

“We believe our technology will change the scale of what is possible in proteomics in an effort to enable significant advancements in drug development and help revolutionize the way biomedical research is conducted,” Patel said of his company earlier this year.

In June, Nautilus merged with Arya Sciences Acquisition Corp III, a special purpose acquisition company, to list on the Nasdaq Exchange. The move provided Nautilus with $345 million to advance its research. 

Prior to the life sciences, Patel ran his software startup Isilon Systems, which he sold for $2.25 billion in 2010, GeekWire reported.

Another tech executive who crossed into the life sciences is former Microsoft executive Terry Myerson who now helms Truveta, a data platform company. Truveta’s platform harnesses data from millions of patients and care facilities to assist researchers in developing new therapeutics and treatment options. Truveta partners with 17 member organizations that provide more than 15% of all patient care in the United States. 

“Together, we are hard at work to help researchers find cures faster, empower every clinician to be an expert, and help families know they are receiving the best care for their condition. We are building an unprecedented data platform and learning community for health. Our members’ data commitment, clinical expertise, and strategic capital will help us achieve our vision. We invite others to join us,” Myerson, who joined Truveta in 2020, said earlier this year when the company closed a $95 million Series A funding round.

Another CEO highlighted by GeekWire is Daphne Koller of Insitro, a company that uses predictive models to accelerate target selection, design and develop effective therapeutics. Last year, Insitro, which was founded by Koller, acquired Haystack Sciences to augment its own machine-learning drug discovery programs. Insitro sought Haystack for that company’s higher resolution dataset-producing technology.

On the company website, Koller explains that Inistro leverages the tools of biology to “generate high-quality, large data sets optimized for machine learning, allowing us to unleash the full potential of modern computational approaches.”

Also, in 2020, Insitro raised $143 million in a Series B financing round.

The fourth CEO highlighted by GeekWire is Naveen Jain, head of Viome Life Sciences, which earlier this year received Breakthrough Device designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its proprietary mRNA analysis technology combined with its next-generation AI platform. The company’s platform is a first-of-its-kind screening tool aimed at the detection of oral and throat cancers. The platform uses saliva as a liquid biopsy and analyzes it for the presence of different carcinomas.

“At Viome, we believe in the power of technology to help everyone stay healthier, do more, and live longer. This FDA approval of our technology and approach for early diagnosis of diseases when they are still treatable further cements our mission,” Jain said at the time of the designation.

A serial entrepreneur, Jain has also founded InfoSpace, Intellus and Moon Express.

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