Francisco Gimenez, 8VC

Dr. Francisco Gimenez discusses bioinformatics, immunocology, vaccine development, and funding Jennifer Doudna's company, Mammoth Bio

For more videos such as this one, follow along on Substack (​) This interview was sponsored by Trinet and Anchin.

Walter Isaacson’s new book, The Code Breaker, profiles Jennifer Doudna and her development of CRISPR technology. In this book, Doudna recalls to Isaacson a nightmare she had shortly after developing the CRISPR gene-editing tool. The nightmare was of Adolf Hitler and how if her technology fell into the wrong hands, it could be used for nefarious purposes. In the past year, Vladimir Putin discussed gene editing and the possibility of creating super soldiers that are resistant to radiation in order to fight wars. In other cases, there have been discussions around ‘designer babies’ to alter the eye color, height, or skin tones of children. There are ethical discussions to any new innovation but the benefits of gene editing are tremendous. Gene editing can allow fertility clinics to eradicate genetic diseases that affect our children and entirely eliminate diseases such as Huntington’s or sickle-cell anemia.

The study of gene editing is one of many revolutionary sciences and innovations in BioTechnology. A particular field within this space is Bioinformatics or using biological data to develop new drugs and treatments in healthcare, agriculture, and manufacturing. In healthcare specifically, the amount of genomic data being produced by academic researchers is doubling every 7 months and according to Dr. Francisco Gimenez, a partner with 8VC, ‘biology is now as much a data science as a lab science.’

These topics are the foundation of the most recent Finding Genius conversation with Francisco Gimenez. Francisco received his Ph.D. from Stanford in Biomedical Informatics and won the Martin Epstein aware for the best paper at the American Medical Informatics Association. In our conversation, Francisco discusses the origins of Bio-IT: CRISPR, CAR-T Therapies, Gene Therapy, platform biologies, and the technologies and innovative treatments that led to rapid vaccine development for COVID-19. With 8VC, Francisco has invested in Mammoth Bio, a company founded by Jennifer Doudna.

Francisco discusses how the past decade in Bio-IT has been revolutionary with regards to specific therapies and the areas he is most excited about in the future.