Bio Eats World

by Andreessen Horowitz

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.

  

Latest Episodes

Journal Club: Engineering Living Materials

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


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Posted on 23 February 2021 | 11:00 am


Value Versus Volume (in Healthcare)

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?


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Posted on 19 February 2021 | 11:43 pm


Things That Make You Go Hmmmm in Healthcare

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.


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Posted on 17 February 2021 | 4:24 pm


Journal Club: My Tick Teacher

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.


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Posted on 11 February 2021 | 11:00 am


May I Have Your Insurance Card Again, Please?

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.


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Posted on 9 February 2021 | 4:02 pm


Journal Club: Suppressing Superbugs

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.


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Posted on 4 February 2021 | 11:00 am


From Junk DNA to an RNA Revolution

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.


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Posted on 1 February 2021 | 10:22 pm


Journal Club: Slaying the Sleeper Cells of Aging

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


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Posted on 28 January 2021 | 11:00 am


The Fundamental Principles of Reality

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.


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Posted on 25 January 2021 | 2:00 pm