Science Strikes Back: Genomics
August 18, 2020 | Abree Murch
Our “Science Strikes Back” series introduces some of the most exciting, forward-leaning venture investment sectors in deep tech. Our Deep Tech Fund co-invests alongside established deep tech venture firms in companies taking on the toughest and potentially most lucrative technological challenges. Our point of view is that the need has never been higher for scientific thought and innovations tackling hard problems. The fund is now open! Click below to learn more.
Deep Tech Focus #6 – Genomics
Defining the Space
Genomics is the study, mapping, and editing of a person’s (or animal’s or plant’s) genes. It includes analyzing interactions of those genes with each other and with the organism’s environment.
A complete set of an individual’s DNA is called a genome, and it serves as the blueprint for how the body develops and functions. The genome is made up of just four molecules, which are combined in strings of different order and length. And almost every cell in the body contains a complete copy of the ~3 billion DNA base pairs in your body.
Why It Matters
While the genetic similarity between humans is remarkably high, the small differences profoundly distinguish us. Immediately apparent differences can be seen in our eyes, hair, skin, and height. Examples of minor internal differences might include the way you metabolize caffeine or react to licorice.
Sequencing the genome — figuring out the order of molecules in an individual’s genes — can be done by taking a blood sample. Analysis of your gene sequence can give you insights into your health, wellness, and ancestry. Today, many people are increasingly interested in understanding their risk of certain diseases in order to delay or prevent those diseases. Genomics can also be applied to plants, animals, and even novel biological systems.
Applications and Benefits
Genomics has numerous applications across the medical sciences.
- Earlier and more effective disease detection and treatment
- New, personalized medicines that work more effectively with your own body
- Understanding the efficacy of medical treatments across groups
- Editing/repairing of malfunctioning DNA
- Creating stem cells to repair or replace damaged tissues
- Cloning or duplicating genes, cells, or organisms to treat diseases
- Breeding plants to improve disease or drought resistance and improve yield
- More efficient production of enzymes, chemicals, etc. to create cheaper, cleaner alternatives
- Potentially physical or cognitive augmentation
Innovations in the Wings
- From editing human DNA, to curing diseases, to creating bacteria and chemicals, CRISPR will literally change the world around us.
- Personalized medicine based on genetics or microbiomes will grow more widespread as the cost of DNA sequencing comes down and more is discovered about how genetics and diseases are related.
- Synthetic biology that creates novel combinations of genes in plants and animals could be as large as the personal computer revolution.
- Scientists will innovate ways to boost human cognitive and physical capabilities through technology and science.
In Our Portfolio
AVG Portfolio Companies in the Genomics Space
These are just a few of our portfolio companies advancing the tech of genomics:
- Clear Labs: Enables stronger food safety and quality programs by providing comprehensive, genomics-based testing and cutting-edge data science.
- Excision Bio: Developer of advanced gene editing therapeutics created to offer safe and efficacious medicines that will eradicate or disrupt viral infections.
- miRecule: Preclinical biotech focused on the development of microRNA therapeutics to treat cancer and other diseases.
- Mission Bio: Helps researchers and clinicians unlock single-cell biology to enable the discovery, development, and delivery of precision medicine.