Why We Invested in Juno Diagnostics: The Future of Healthcare
We’re thrilled to announce our investment in Juno Diagnostics, a revolutionary new consumer health and wellness company that is developing in-home testing solutions beginning with reproductive health. Welcome, Dirk, Jim, and the JunoDX team to the Prototype Capital family!
Coming in, we saw three fundamental truths about genetic testing and the healthcare Industry:
1) Computational genomics is going to be a massively powerful lever in personalized medicine. For the first time, the price of gene sequencing is falling exponentially in a Moore’s Law fashion allowing millions to have their genome sequenced. Once we have access to genomic data, we can do non-invasive testing and figure out if certain individuals are more likely to develop certain strains of cancer or Alzheimers or other genetic diseases. Then down the line we could in theory locate where on the genome those mutations happened and then edit those genes just as we’d edit a Word document. Plus combining genomic testing with machine learning would allow us to predict which cocktail of drugs would perfectly provide the antibodies for that particular individual.
2) You need an application before building a platform. Because of the power of genomics and the exponentially reducing costs of whole exome gene sequencing, it’s common to see companies providing whole exome gene sequencing kits to the public in hopes of building a platform. Unfortunately, as a humanity we don’t have enough cross sectional genotypic / phenotypic data, and we can’t actually make sense of most of that data. And as a result, most people who sequence their whole genome do so mainly out of curiosity. Instead, before building a platform, it’s important from a long term company building perspective to have a valuable cheap (say less than $30) single use testing application that is fundamentally useful (not just “cool”), and that may require a tiny bit of the genome.
3) At home healthcare is taking off because of privacy. Currently, healthcare is very industrial and requires you to go into a clinic or hospital. But many aspects of testing are very private (imagine pregnancy tests). As a result, certain tests (say, STD testing) will increasingly happen with throw away hardware in the home setting.
Juno takes advantage of all these industry truths with their genetic tests. Currently in stealth, Juno is promising in-home tests for a fraction of the cost of competitors.
But what excites us is Juno’s big mission. Ultimately, the future of healthcare testing needs to move downstream into the patients palms. The further we are able to reduce wait times for necessary medical data and the more accessible that data is through bringing diagnosis capabilities into your home, we will reduce negative patient outcomes. We truly believe the team at Juno is best equipped to address these fundamental issues in medicine. Much of the Juno team was previously executives at Sequenom, a publicly traded company out of San Diego providing NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing) to mothers; Juno CEO Dirk was previously CEO of Sequenom where he lead Sequenom’s acquisition by LabCorp for ~$400M; given his and his teams deep background in molecular biology and NIPT, we’re excited to be part of their vision of bringing affordable and applicable industry-grade medical testing solutions to the consumers’ palms.
Dirk van den Boom
Here’s to the future of healthcare, and to the doctors and staff, researchers, and patients who all have to go through it.
Team Prototype Capital