Genes. The next big thing. Photo by Malin K. on Unsplash

Via Scientific: Why We Invested

A proven leader, working with an incredible team on a revolutionary technology that will save lives.

Mike Troiano
G20 Ventures
Published in
4 min readJan 9, 2024

--

We don’t look for new drugs in beakers anymore, we look for them in software.

As we approach the complete set of nucleic acid sequences that form the blueprint of human life, a revolution is happening in life sciences. The way we discover drugs — as just one example —is being transformed, from a process of smashing random compounds together in hope of creating something useful (not really, but basically) to one where new molecules are being engineered based on their ability to target specific genetic sequences in individual people and plants to produce outcomes that can be pretty well anticipated before anybody gets injected with anything.

To drive this new generation of life sciences innovation, teams of principle scientists, computational biologists, and bioinformaticians need a new generation of IT infrastructure. Part of the reason is the sheer scale of these projects… a single human genome occupies three gigabytes of data, so a study involving thousands of people gets unwieldy pretty fast. Another is scope. Creating something you’re going to put into a person demands a process with lots of checks and balances, involving a diverse and often globe-spanning research and development team that needs to document every step and dot every i before submitting itself to one of the most rigorous commercial regulatory regimes ever devised. Complicating all that is the rate of change… If your mathematical proof of the efficacy of Compound Q in 2024 is based on the Gen 3 Rabbit Genome from way back in 2021, but the Gen 6 version just came out, you need to roll Gen 6 back through all your calculations in a way that could take weeks, distracting some of the most highly specialized and expensive people in the world from doing the work only they can do.

Innovation in this space depends on researchers’ ability not just to uncover new data, but to identify patterns at the intersection of multiple “omics” disciplines (i.e. genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics, etc.) and real-world evidence. Developed in the Bioinformatics Core at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, Via Scientific’s revolutionary “multi-omics platform” — Via Foundry — enables researchers to study life in a concerted way, leveraging AI to analyze large scale, complex, and dynamic biological data to find novel associations between biological entities, pinpoint relevant biomarkers, and build elaborate markers of disease and physiology.

Via Foundry is the multi-omics platform that lets pharmaceutical companies, bio-techs, and academic researchers go faster in discovering new biological insights.

The business is led by my longtime friend and co-conspirator Jim Crowley, an m-Qube Mafia member and successful CEO with multiple 10x outcomes under his belt. Jim is a fantastic leader and generally great human being, and the journey to this deal came through multiple sessions of oysters and Negronis at our mutually adored hangout in the western burbs, Woods Hill Table. The team he leads includes some of the smartest people I’ve come across, including co-founder Dr. Alper Kucukural, Melissa Moore, the Chief Scientific Office of Moderna who explained to the world how mRNA technology saved it from the ‘vid; tech advisor Rob Hickey of Data Robot fame, and fellow m-Qube alum Eswar Priyadarshan, another good friend and new G20 Member (thanks for this one, Swar 🙏.)

Among the many kernels of wisdom imparted by my partner Bob Hower as I began my VC journey was this:

Don’t invest in anything you don’t want to spend the next five years working on.

In the press announcement for the round, which we co-led with our partners at life sciences AI fund

, I said this:

Via Scientific is a game-changer in the biopharmaceutical landscape. Their ability to streamline and simplify complex multi-omics data analysis is what the world needs to save more lives sooner in the fights against disease, hunger, and climate change.

I’m not only excited to spend the next five years working on this business with these people, I’m honored to be involved in even a small way with something that can help so many in such profound ways. The fact that we might make a few sheckles along the way is a bonus, but it’s a big one at the frontier of an industry that just might change everything.

Here’s hoping. For more on Via Scientific and the Foundry platform, visit www.viascientific.com.

--

--

Mike Troiano
G20 Ventures

Storyteller. Consiglieri. Lyrical gangsta. Partner, G20 Ventures, thoughts here are my own. https://nf.td/miketrap