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  • Writer's pictureDr. Elizabeth O'Day

Investing in "Not Your Father’s Diagnostics"

In 1988 Oldsmobile released the Cutlass Supreme, an all-star vehicle with new, exciting features that were best summarized with the tag line “this is not your father’s Oldsmobile" (video below for reference and/or nostalgia). In 2020, with new innovative diagnostics that are capable of diagnosing disease earlier, less invasively, optimizing treatment choices, and potentially saving billions of dollars to the healthcare system, I think it is fair to say “this is not your father’s diagnostics”.

More than 70% of decisions made by a physician rely on a diagnostic test, and as our diagnostics become more advanced they will empower physicians and patients to do more—to live more. This is exciting. To bring these new tools to patients it will take rigorous science and capital. Traditionally investors have been a little skittish to put their dollars into this space. But with recent big wins for the industry (Foundation Medicine acquired for $2.4B in 2018 by Roche and Genomic Health acquired for $2.8B in 2019 by Exact Sciences) more and more investors are starting to take another look.

Olaris recently closed our series A financing. We asked investors why they chose to invest in Olaris and in diagnostics. Each investor believes diagnostics is the key for the future of healthcare.

Dr. Venkat Srinivasan, Ph.D
Dr. Venkat Srinivasan, PhD

"The holy grail of healthcare is “precision medicine” where disease treatment and prevention are personalized or stratified for better efficacy results and cost savings. The last decade has seen significant progress in precision medicine - enabled by key emerging technology developments such as high throughput next generation DNA sequencing, advanced in-vitro models (organ-on-a-chip), CAR-T cell therapy, and algorithmic methods and platforms (AI) for understanding genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics data. Precision diagnostics can play a key important role in moving the needle towards precision medicine. It’s simple. Precise treatment starts and continues with precise diagnosis. Olaris is on a mission to fundamentally change how diseases are diagnosed and treated with their metabolite profiling platform in combination with advanced ML to identify “biomarkers of response”. Our investment thesis is that precision diagnostics platforms will be critical in not only identifying the appropriate treatment option for patients in a timely manner but will provide essential learning and data for research and clinical trial settings for developing precision medicine. "


Dr. Chafen Lu, Ph.D.
Dr. Chafen Lu, PhD

"I believe advances in biomedicines and technologies in recent years have provided us with new capabilities in disease diagnosis, cancer in particular. We are in an era where we have the ability to detect cancer with greater accuracy and predetermine an individual’s response to drug treatment. The other reason: earlier investment return is possible than therapeutics since diagnostic products usually aren’t subject to the same FDA regulations as therapeutics, thus shorter development time. Most of all, I want to invest with a CEO with vision and determination."


Dr. John Zwetchkenbaum , M.D.
Dr. John Zwetchkenbaum, MD

"Precision medicine which to some is synonymous with personalized medicine is the future of medicine. 85% of office visits focus on chronic disease, where success in treatment is only measured as a response that is statistically better than placebo. The ideal is wellness, abundant living, and preventing the disease before it happens. Diagnostics help early in lifestyle management and prevention."


1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Commercial



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