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Bio Eats World

Author: Andreessen Horowitz

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Biology is breaking out of the lab and clinic—and into our daily lives. Our new ability to engineer biology is transforming not just science, research, and healthcare, but how we produce our food, the materials we use, how we manufacture, and much, much more. From the latest scientific advances to the biggest trends, this show explores all the ways biology is today where the computing revolution was 50 years ago: on the precipice of revolutionizing our world in ways we are only just beginning to appreciate. Through conversations with scientists, builders, entrepreneurs, and leaders, hosts Hanne Winarsky and Lauren Richardson (along with the team at Andreessen Horowitz), examine how bio is going to fundamentally transform our future.

In short, bio is eating the world.
43 Episodes
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a16z general Vineeta Agarwala, MD Ph.D, and deal partners Judy Savitskaya, Ph.D and Justin Larkin, MD join host Lauren Richardson, Ph.D to discuss the results and implications of the article "Reconstitution of the oocyte transcriptional network with transcription factors" by Nobuhiko Hamazaki, Hirohisa Kyogoku, Hiromitsu Araki, Fumihito Miura, Chisako Horikawa, Norio Hamada, So Shimamoto, Orie Hikabe, Kinichi Nakashima, Tomoya S. Kitajima, Takashi Ito, Harry G. Leitch and Katsuhiko Hayashi, published in Nature.
In this episode of Bio Eats World, we talk to Dr. Jennifer Doudna—winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for the co-discovery (with Emmanuelle Charpentier) of CRISPR-Cas9—about the art and science of biology. Huge breakthroughs such as Doudna's—which began with the identification of CRISPR in bacteria and was then built into a highly adaptable genome editing platform—are now fueling the evolution of the field. Fundamental knowledge that has largely come from curiosity-driven science has converged with enabling technologies, allowing scientists and biologists in particular to do things that even a couple of years ago, we would have found unimaginable. And biology has begun to shift from an artisanal process, to an industrial one—shifting from qualitative, descriptive science, to quantitative, predictive, high-throughput, science with increasing automation.  In this conversation, a16z General Partner Vijay Pande and Doudna talk about what happens as CRISPR and other tools to engineer and interrogate biology mature. What does the future of biology look like? Can discovery itself be engineered and industrialized—and how do we recognize the moment that becomes possible? Doudna talks about the arc of her career and work through this lens, from basic research to applied; what can be built tomorrow on today’s discoveries; and what at the end of the day may never be engineerable.
Tom  Ellis (@ProfTomEllis), Professor of Synthetic Genome Engineering at Imperial College London, joins host Lauren Richardson (@lr_bio) and a16z bio deal team partner Judy Savitskaya (@heyjudka) to discuss the results and implications of the article "Living materials with programmable functionalities grown from engineered microbial co-cultures" by  Charlie Gilbert, Tzu-Chieh Tang, Wolfgang Ott, Brandon A. Dorr, William M. Shaw, George L. Sun, Timothy K. Lu & Tom Ellis, published in Nature Materials. 
The way we pay for healthcare in the US has long been by fee-for-service: per doctor visit, per test, per surgery, per hospital stay. But that system has led to rapidly escalating volumes of services and cost to the system—without actually improving outcomes. What if we shifted everything towards paying for value—and outcomes—instead? In this episode, Todd Park, co-founder and executive chairman of Devoted Health, and formerly Chief Technology Officer and technology advisor for President Barack Obama; a16z General Partner Vijay Pande; and Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky—talk all about the megatrend of value-based care, and how it is redefining healthcare itself. Why is now the moment for this massive shift? How do we implement it? What does it mean for doctors and patients, insurers and policymakers? What is tech’s role in making it possible, and what's the business model and incentive for creating value?
In this episode, we share an episode of the brand new a16z Live podcast feed called “It’s Time to Heal”—a live conversation on audio/drop in chat app Clubhouse every Monday at 5pm PT, covering the latest trends and future of bio and healthcare with special guests and entrepreneurs, hosted by a16z bio partners Vineeta Agarwala, Jorge Conde, Vijay Pande, and Julie Yoo. Last week, a16z Bio General Partners and a16z cofounder Marc Andreessen talked with guest Nihkil Krishnan, comedian and author known for his Out-of-Pocket Substack newsletter and Slack community for healthcare builders, award winning children’s book, If You Give a Mouse Metformin, and past endeavors at TrialSpark and as healthcare analyst CB Insights. The conversation is all about the things that make you go “hmmm” in healthcare—the stuff we're all thinking but don't talk about, the places where exciting and surprising things are happening, and the places where you have to wonder why it works that way.
Seemay Chou (@seemaychou), Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Francisco, joins host Lauren Richardson (@lr_bio) to discuss the results and implications of the article “Ticks Resist Skin Commensals with Immune Factor of Bacterial Origin”, by Beth M. Hayes, Atanas D. Radkov, Fauna Yarza, Sebastian Flores, Jungyun Kim, Ziyi Zhao, Katrina W. Lexa, Liron Marnin, Jacob Biboy, Victoria Bowcut, Waldemar Vollmer, Joao H.F. Pedra, and Seemay Chou, published in Cell.
There's been a lot of talk (including on this show!) about the many kinds of innovations and technologies changing healthcare delivery for clinicians and patients. But what's happening behind the scenes in healthcare: in billing, in administration, and infrastructure? In this episode, we’re talking about the mountains of work (and paperwork) in the healthcare system, from reimbursement claims to patient registration to call centers scheduling appointments and much more—the enormous cost of inefficiency and waste in these areas adds to the healthcare system, and what kind of tech can help to improve it. Former Senator Bill Frist—a surgeon, Senate Majority Leader from 2003 to 2007, co-founder of Aspire Health, host of healthcare podcast A Second Opinion, and board member for many healthcare systems and companies; Malinka Walaliyadde, CEO and co-founder of Alpha Health, a tech company that automates healthcare revenue cycle management; and a16z General Partner Julie Yoo join Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky to discuss how innovation happens in healthcare's administrative "back office". The conversation covers what that waste currently costs us on a national and personal level; how (and what) new technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning can automate to help cut cost out of the system; and how ultimately, we can allow innovate in these areas to allow the humans to do the really important work.
Andrew Read, Ph.D is the director of Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, the Evan Pugh Professor of Biology and Entomology, and the Eberly Professor of Biotechnology at Pennsylvania State University. He joins host Lauren Richardson to discuss the results and implications of the article "An adjunctive therapy administered with an antibiotic prevents enrichment of antibiotic-resistant clones of a colonizing opportunistic pathogen"  by Valerie J Morley, Clare L Kinnear , Derek G Sim, Samantha N Olson , Lindsey M Jackson, Elsa Hansen, Grace A Usher, Scott A Showalter, Manjunath P Pai, Robert J Woods, and Andrew F Read, published in eLife.
What the heck is "junk DNA"? In this episode, a16z General Partner Jorge Conde and Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky talk to Professor Rick Young, Professor of Biology and head of the Young Lab at MIT—all about "junk" DNA, or non-coding DNA. Which, it turns out—spoiler alert—isn’t junk at all. Much of this so-called junk DNA actually encodes RNA—which we now know has all sorts of incredibly important roles in the cell, many of which were previously thought of as only the domain of proteins. This conversation is all about what we know about what that non-coding genome actually does: how RNA works to regulate all kinds of different gene expression, cell types, and functions; how this has dramatically changed our understanding of how disease arises; and most importantly, what this means we can now do—programming cells, tuning functions up or down, or on or off. What we once thought of as "junk" is now giving us a powerful new tool in intervening in and treating disease—bringing in a whole new category of therapies.
On this episode, a16z general partner Jorge Conde (@JorgeCondeBio) and bio deal team partner Andy Tran (@andy23tran) join host Lauren Richardson (@lr_bio) to discuss the results and implications of the article "Senolytic CAR T cells reverse senescence-associated pathologies" by Corina Amor, Judith Feucht, Josef Leibold, Yu-Jui Ho, Changyu Zhu, Direna Alonso-Curbelo, Jorge Mansilla-Soto, Jacob A. Boyer, Xiang Li, Theodoros Giavridis, Amanda Kulick, Shauna Houlihan, Ellinor Peerschke, Scott L. Friedman, Vladimir Ponomarev, Alessandra Piersigilli, Michel Sadelain & Scott W. Lowe, published in Nature.The introduction also references the article "Senolysis by glutaminolysis inhibition ameliorates various age-associated disorders" by Yoshikazu Johmura, Takehiro Yamanaka, Satotaka Omori, Teh-Wei Wang, Yuki Sugiura, Masaki Matsumoto, Narumi Suzuki, Soichiro Kumamoto, Kiyoshi Yamaguchi, Seira Hatakeyama, Tomoyo Takami, Rui Yamaguchi, Eigo Shimizu, Kazutaka Ikeda, Nobuyuki Okahashi, Ryuta Mikawa, Makoto Suematsu, Makoto Arita, Masataka Sugimoto, Keiichi I. Nakayama, Yoichi Furukawa, Seiya Imoto, Makoto Nakanishi
What are the fundamental principles that govern the physical world around us, and how did we get to them? In this episode, Bio Eats World hosts Hanne Winarsky and Lauren Richardson talk to Nobel prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek about the essential principles of modern physics that have built our understanding of the world. Wilczek (who won the Nobel in 2004 for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction) dives into not just the principles of physics themselves—around space, time, fields, energy, and the laws that govern them—but the key intellectual driver that brought us to them, which he calls "radical conservatism", or the idea of pushing every theory to its limit. In this wide-ranging, philosophical conversation, Wilczek tells the stories of how certain key theories moved from ideas to principles, from cosmology to complementarity; how the complexity of biology arises from the simplicity of physics; what lead to the discovery of dark matter and axions; whether time can be reversed; what the future of the universe might look like; but most of all, how we as humans attempt to understand the beautiful, complicated world around us.
David Olson, Ph.D, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Davis, joins host Lauren Richardson to discuss the results and implications of the article "A non-hallucinogenic psychedelic analogue with therapeutic potential" by Lindsay P. Cameron, Robert J. Tombari, Ju Lu, Alexander J. Pell, Zefan Q. Hurley, Yann Ehinger, Maxemiliano V. Vargas, Matthew N. McCarroll, Jack C. Taylor, Douglas Myers-Turnbull, Taohui Liu, Bianca Yaghoobi, Lauren J. Laskowski, Emilie I. Anderson, Guoliang Zhang, Jayashri Viswanathan, Brandon M. Brown, Michelle Tjia, Lee E. Dunlap2, Zachary T. Rabow, Oliver Fiehn, Heike Wulff, John D. McCorvy, Pamela J. Lein, David Kokel, Dorit Ron, Jamie Peters, Yi Zuo & David E. Olson, published in Nature.
The Genetics of Risk

The Genetics of Risk

2021-01-1831:051

Genetic testing is on the cusp of a major revolution, which has the potential to shift not just how we understand our risk for disease, but how we practice healthcare. In the clinic today, genetic testing is used only in cases where we know that mutations have big impact on physiology (BRCA mutations in breast cancer, for example). But our knowledge of how our genetics influences our risk for disease has evolved, and we now know that many (tens of thousands to even millions) small changes in our genes, each of which individually has a tiny effect, combine to influence our risk profile. This new appreciation — coupled with powerful statistical methods and massive datasets — has fueled the creation of a new tool to quantify the risk of a broad range of common diseases: the polygenic risk score. On this episode, host Lauren Richardson (@lr_bio) is joined by Dr. Peter Donnelly, (@genemodeller Professor of Statistical Science at the University of Oxford and the CEO of Genomics PLC,) and Vineeta Agarwala, (@vintweeta physician-scientist and general partner at a16z), to discuss these scores and how they can reshape healthcare, away from a paradigm of treating illness and towards prevention and maintenance of health.
Dr. Willem Mulder is a Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, Eindhoven University of Technology, and  Radboud University Medical Center and is a co-founder of Trained Therapeutix Discovery. He joins host Lauren Richardson to discuss the results and implications of the article "Trained Immunity-Promoting Nanobiologic Therapy Suppresses Tumor Growth and Potentiates Checkpoint Inhibition" by Bram Priem, Mandy M.T. van Leent, Abraham J.P. Teunissen, Alexandros Marios Sofias, Vera P. Mourits, Lisa Willemsen, Emma D. Klein, Roderick S. Oosterwijk, Anu E. Meerwaldt, Jazz Munitz, Geoffrey Pre ́vot, Anna Vera Verschuur, Sheqouia A. Nauta, Esther M. van Leeuwen, Elizabeth L. Fisher, Karen A.M. de Jong, Yiming Zhao, Yohana C. Toner, Georgios Soultanidis, Claudia Calcagno, Paul H.H. Bomans, Heiner Friedrich, Nico Sommerdijk, Thomas Reiner, Raphae ̈l Duivenvoorden, Eva Zupancic, Julie S. Di Martino, Ewelina Kluza, Mohammad Rashidian, Hidde L. Ploegh, Rick M. Dijkhuizen, Sjoerd Hak, Carlos Pe ́ rez-Medina, Jose Javier Bravo-Cordero, Menno P.J. de Winther, Leo A.B. Joosten, Andrea van Elsas, Zahi A. Fayad, Alexander Rialdi, Denis Torre, Ernesto Guccione, Jordi Ochando, Mihai G. Netea, Arjan W. Griffioen, and Willem J.M. Mulder, published in Cell. For more on the innate immune system, also check out "Journal Club: Why do only some people get severe COVID-19?" and "Journal Club: How to Win an Evolutionary Arms Race"
For more on brain organoids and their many applications, check out this episode of Journal Club: "Modeling Mysterious Brain Structures." Host Lauren Richardson talks to Dr. Madeline Lancaster, a Group Leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, about her lab's article in Science describing an organoid model for studying the cerebrospinal fluid and the choroid plexus, and how these organoids can be used to study brain development, evolution, and improve the drug development process.
Dr. Helen Su, Chief of the Human Immunological Diseases Section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (part of the NIH) and co-leader of the COVID Human Genetic Effort, joins host Lauren Richardson to discuss the results and implications of the articles "Inborn errors of type I IFN immunity in patients with life-threatening COVID-19"  and "Autoantibodies against type I IFNs in patients with life-threatening COVID-19", both published in Science. 
Building a software company in healthcare is hard—and comes along with unique challenges no other entrepreneurs face. In this conversation, a16z bio general partner (and previous founder of genomics company Knome) Jorge Conde; and a16z bio partner and former founder Julie Yoo (of patient provider matching system, Kyruus) share their mistakes and hard earned lessons learned with Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky in this now classic episode, first aired on the a16z Podcast. Why is this so damn hard? How should founders think about this space differently? What are the specific things that healthcare founders can do—when, where, and why? You wish you only knew all this when you started your own company.
A year ago, none of us would believe that mRNA vaccines would be a household name. And yet here we are, at the end of 2020, counting the days towards a vaccine that could not just save lives but help bring us back into a world that feels “normal” again. In this special episode, airing the day the FDA authorized the vaccine for emergency use, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel tells the story of not just the vaccine’s development, but the machine that made the vaccine: the platform, the technology, and the moves behind the vaccine’s development. This episode of Bio Eats World takes us from a world of pipette and lab benches to a world of industrial robots making medicines: We used to grow our vaccines, now we can “print” them, getting them to patients faster and more efficiently than ever before. In conversation with a16z general partner Jorge Conde and Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky, Bancel describes the exact moment he realized they might actually be able to make a vaccine for Covid-19; what happened next to go from pathogen to design; how this new technology that uses mRNA works (in a chocolate mousse metaphor!), and what makes it different from “old” vaccines; and how to think about managing both innovation and speed in this world. Why is this such a fundamental shift in the world of drug development? And where will this technology go next?
with @pmarca and @vijaypande How come things like healthcare, education, and housing get more and more expensive, but things like socks, shoes, and electronics all get cheaper and cheaper? In this episode of Bio Eats World, a16z founder and internet pioneer Marc Andreessen, and General Partner Vijay Pande, discuss the lesser known law of economics that explains why healthcare, education and housing is so damn expensive, and getting worse. What’s really at heart is tech’s ability to transform (expensive) services into (affordable) goods: think of the cost of a live string quartet, versus a streamed recorded track; or the cost of a custom-made shoe, versus a factory-made one. Until now, using tech to similarly transform services into goods in healthcare has seemed like an impossible dream — how would you do this for, say, the service of doctors providing care? But in this wide ranging conversation all about technology and society across all industries, Andreessen and Pande talk about the massive new gains recent technologies have begun to make this seem within reach, from eye surgery in malls to using AI in processing medical claims. Is there a future in which what doctors are doing today feels analogous to farmers hand plowing fields 300 years ago? And what would the role of that doctor of the future be?
Harmit Malik, PhD (Professor and Associate Director of the Basic Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center) joins host Lauren Richardson to discuss the results and implications of the article "Mutational resilience of antiviral restriction favors primate TRIM5α in host-virus evolutionary arms races", by Jeannette L Tenthorey, Candice Young, Afeez Sodeinde, Michael Emerman, and Harmit S Malik,  published in eLife.
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Comments (5)

Ariel Reynante

Wowzers this is some of the most hope inspiring news I've heard in this field since my microbial evolution class made me aware of just how dangerous our #antibiotic #resistance situation is #NPR #TIL

Feb 6th
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Ariel Reynante

And this is why I paid the $199 USD to get my full genome sequenced from DanteLabs

Jan 26th
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Bill Baggins

theese doctor treat pain patients like lab rats. somehow doctors have a higher claim over ones life and well being than the patient himself. if you really listen to this guy you will see the arrogance of themselves. its not the doctors job to determine if one is lying or tell them they are not in pain in their opinion. if a person has a desired treatment and it improves their life who the f**k do thesr people think they are to deny them the pursuit of happiness. whos gonna hold a higher regard for your own well being... yourself? or someone else? common sense has left the building on almost every aspect of life. the opiod bullshit isnt the factual reporting from the paitents but the arrogant opinion of the "experts". people are not animals! having to get permission for medication id a form of slavery. we have this false belief that slavery is gone when in fact it has expanded. slavery... The condition in which one person is owned as property by another and is under the owner's control, especially in involuntary servitude . My heathcare is not under my control, people forced off opiods when they dont want it is not voluntary. a child has to get a parent permission to do things. People are so busy trying to manage the lives of people they dont even dont even know when they cant even manage their own. misery loves company if a person takes opiods to improve their life, who the hell is anyone to tell them otherwise. It no different than telling a disbetic he cant have insulin even though it will improve his life. So under the ruse, since a few people abuse opiods we should deny others who dont the right to work and enjoy their familys. People who need opiods and are denied them suffer the same ill effects of person who is an addict. Addicts generally lose their ability to work and lose their family. People in chronic pain who are denied opiods generally lose their job and family and for many their life. suicide is rampant among people in constsnt pain, espesilly the non cancer patient as the cancer patient has the hope of death, something to look forward to "at least this will be over soon". The person who is in chronic pain who are not dying asks the question "do i got to live the rest of my life like this?" this is a very dire sitiation where hoplessness engulfs their life! cars kill people, people abuse cars and drive recklessly but prosperity and convienience is more important than the people they kill, same for opiods they create more prosperity than not. weve had knowlage at our fingertips and still we just take what spews from some "specialist" mouth who is speaking in their own self interest as the word of god than actually seeking the truth. Being the smartest man on earth doent give them authourity to run the lives of others We are now a world population of children who never grow up. unlike the rest of the world ill be in charge of my own life!

Jan 15th
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Happy🧚‍♀️Heritic

Just discovered this podcast, very excited--It's awesome!

Oct 21st
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Ariel Reynante

Wow, that is brilliant!

Oct 16th
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