Deep science investor Lindy Fishburne cofounded the seed- and early-stage venture firmseveral years ago after cofounding Breakout Labs within the Thiel Foundation in 2011. She has amassed a wide array of stakes in the process. Among her firm’s portfolio companies is , a company that aims to treat Alzheimer’s disease; the maker of the sustainable material ; and Stratos, a company whose robotic cloud platform is remaking how lab work gets done.
Weabout where we are in the arc of this pandemic based on what she is seeing. We , which once seemed like long shots, suddenly look like solid bets. Parts of our chat below have been edited lightly for length and clarity.
TC: We want to be excited about the progress inBased on the conversation conversationssense of things?
LF: The acceleration of the, and now we are down to the unsexy part of the logistics of rolling them out. That’s our biggest challenge. Then the next piece we will have to confront is what happens when the [at] unequal levels and how and exposure and equity along with those issues.
TC: Science has been the big story of theAre you hearing from investors and potential syndicate partners who weren’t reaching out?
LF: Yes. Thein science into sharp relief. For the first time, we’re seeing a whole set of what you would think of as traditional who read about the mRNA vaccine that Moderna coded in a weekend and who are starting to believe that we’re able to engineer biology and that it doesn’t feel like a craft process anymore.
TC: You talk about coding a vaccine. Are laboratories becoming less critical in that scientists can do much more in simulation, and if so, what does thatfor human testing? Are we getting to a point where we don’t have to rely on human testing as much as we did in the past?
LF: That’s where we hope to get on thepiece. We’re not there yet. The human body is such a complex system that we cannot model that entirely yet. You may have read and heard about organs on a organoids, where you can have a tiny amount of liver that you can test toxicity on [and] we’re doing more of that. That said, we’re not ready to leap from completely doing it in silico to humans with a super-high level of confidence.’
I think what you’re pointing toward, to some degree, is democratization in science and access for morewith lower skills to work in drug discovery and drug development at a distance. So, for example, we have a company that we’ve worked with called Stratos that has a full robotic lab that — instead of having technicians standing there — you have robots and a miniature train track that moves assays throughout the room so that scientists who were stuck at home this we’re able to continue experiments regardless of their geography or safety in the lab or time constraints.