The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 2 months ago

Ep 162: Literally Curing Cancer w/ Maria Luisa Pineda


Ep 162: Literally Curing Cancer w/ Maria Luisa Pineda

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton.

Hello everyone and welcome back to thepavilion podcast. I'm your host, Brandon Martin you are listening to. Isthis a good time? The show where I put pavilion members on the hot seat for 15minutes and we hear their incredible stories and wow do we have anincredible one today. We really shows Tuesdays and Thursdays and if you hitsubscribe you will not miss hearing stories like the incredible one fortoday. Our guest is dr Maria luisa Panetta. She's the Ceo and co founderof Envisages Gen X. Excuse me. And we talk about literally curing cancer.This one sponsors Sandoz. So Sandoz, so the leading sending platform is themost effective way for revenue generating teams to stand out with newways to engage at strategic points throughout the customer journey byconnecting digital and physical strategies. Companies can engage,acquire and retain customers easier than ever before. All right, let's dothis. Episode 79 is this a good time? All right. When I'm super excited tohave dr Maria luisa Panera on the show today, she is the Ceo co founder ofEnvisages Gen X and Life Sciences start up uh just different than the normaltype of person that we talked to. I am so excited to have you on the pod.Thanks thanks for having me. Yeah, well look, all meat, no fillers. We jumpright into it. Tell us about your company what you do and then and then Iwant you to back up and give us a little bit. I mean obviously you'vegotten your degree. So you had to go through all of those years of schoolingand from schooling to becoming an entrepreneur like this. It's not alwaysa path that a doctor is taking. So I'd love to back up all the way and kind ofbring us up to where you are but tell us about envisages sticks first. Soenvisage nx what we do. We have an ai company that uses sequencing humansequencing for identifying therapeutics and fixing them with our N. A. So ifyou know everybody's gone through covid,... kind of now are often your RNA iswe basically try to get all those patients all their samples, analyzedtheir data and identify RNA errors and then and design therapeutics to fixthem like a little band aid and by doing that, hopefully patients couldlive longer and you know, women with metastatic breast cancer, considerChildren get married and and Children with leukemias can survive more thantwo years and have a a successful life and grew up. So you're literally curingcancer. Let's just let's just throw this on the table. Yes, that is thetitle of what we're doing. We wanna fucking cure cancer And als, let's putit that way, wow. So and so look um I like to pretend like I know what ourDNA does and everything okay. In reality it is special. It's almost asif you're programming cells that cells is you don't correct me here. Right?But this is the way I would understand it, right? You're programming cells togo in and help manipulate the existing DNA that's ever fix the little DNAthat's there. But you do. How does this work? I mean this is it's sci fi. It'spretty cool. So look just bauji like one oh one DNA RNA protein proteinswill make all our tissues our bodies work properly. Right? So every timethere's a disease or there's something going wrong means like your proteinsare there's something going wrong with them. So what we do is that instead ofgoing all the way to D. N. A. Because we all look the same. Right? But youand I have different eye color, right? Yours is blue. Mine is brown. But it'sthe same gene. How is our is different. We have different protein of eye color.Right? There's a call ISA forms. And what we do is basically, you know, usedata science and biology and cloud...

...computing. So we can go through tonsand tons of patient data. So we can see these different, you know ISA forms arean Ai So forms all these proteins and understand which one went wrong andthen try to fix them, wow. And and the fixing part happens like again, you'resending a soldier in to do the fixing like again that seems like sci fi thatseems like a little pots going into my body. But my gosh, but I think thatit's a beautiful part of allergy. So, you know, if you are in a, it'sbasically we we take in we'll take a little piece of RNA. We put it in thatgoes into the cell and then it tells, you know, it fixes that issue. So whenthe whole machinery comes and produces the protein, it produces the right one.So, you know, I think it's it's a beautiful thing and we're basicallyusing biology in its perfect way. So we can fix things that, you know,otherwise couldn't be fixed anymore. That's that's incredible. And so justtell us about the origins of the company. I mean, is this somethingyou've always wanted to do? You know, you were, you've done a bunch of otherthings before you are consulting for, you know, venture companies as well.Like, like how did I? So this is, I mean this is this is my favorite partof tel. So after my PhD at Cold Spring Harbor lab, I end up going to work withventure capital as you said. And while I was there, my co founder back then,you know, he was a post doctoral student at Cold Spring Harbor. And hecalled me, he said, hey, he's Argentina. And so he called me in spanish today,Maria Louisa, you're working with all the rich people. And I said, yeah,what's up? He goes, remember what we're working on the drug for spinal muscularatrophy. And I said, yes, he goes, well the Children that couldn't move asingle muscle are now sending like thank you notes and Henry in picturesand trinkets to our professor. So it's...

...working, working and okay so then youknow we went and met into a Starbucks close back to the lab and then heshowed me the data, show me some of the pictures. One of them is like an ironman that I always used for conferences where this child with S. M. A. S. It'shorrible genetic disorder where the muscles don't work because of an RNA.Or he was sending a thank you know for my professor dr Adrian Craner thankinghim for making the drug possible because he could walk smile. I was likeholy sh it is amazing I want to do this. So you know I was working with the VCSAnd I said well let's give it a name and we're both Latinos. So we wanted tokind of you know take the technology commercialized it out of theinstitution and then make it into a company. So we could do it again fordifferent diseases. And instead of doing it manually like we did thatbecause 12 years I don't make the process. So we could do it in a fewyears instead of 12. So we can you know sequencing was starting cloud computingwas starting and I said hey you know my husband's working in cloud computingthings, nobody knows where it is. But apparently can click a button and youcan scale, you know, all the machinery and just analyze ship faster and hegoes okay. And then sequencing was getting faster, better cheaper. And Isaid well let's do everything. We can automate this process, do it again andgive it a name. So you know we're Latinos. So we said okay let's putsomething to look into the future which means envisage and we do a mix which isyou know the study of using genetic medicine or genetic sequencing and weput those together and call it on this eugenics and I you know put the decktogether with him and then he presented to my bosses and I was sitting in theroom and they look back and they're like you did this deck right? And Isaid yes, you know he's a scientist, he went to take me on in Israel but youknow him he was his Children, his twins...

...were born the day before so he lookedlike a mess. So he was still wearing the stuff for the hospital because hiswife made him go I think her water broke and he goes you're a pitch, youknow you know he went and pitched to my bosses and you know he was they lookedback in the city if you if you like it that much we basically give you precedeum you know ai my salary and you take over as ceo and you know you can startthe company wow. We started almost 78 years ago. Oh wow. And where are you inthe journey now? Are you know it's still venture backed. Is is it stillventure back? We just closed our around? Uh Yeah. Thanks man. We just closed ouraround. But I mean when we started out with eugenics, I mean cloud computingwas starting all this industry was starting and we're starting a companydoing machine learning ai for drug discovery, write something that was nonexistent and industrial is not even there. Right? So it was it wassomething a little bit different and because of that we had to figure out abusiness model how we're gonna make revenue, how we're gonna survive, howwe're gonna pay our our Children's like things like everything. So we got a lotof grants because we're scientists, so we wrote grants from NIH and I thinkthat allowed me to get generate revenue and choose which investor to invest inthe company as well. So we've gotten a lot of revenue and organically built abiotech and have awesome tech investors that are interested in deep tech, justwhat they cause yeah sure. It don't really understand what we do but theyknow that we're doing awesome science.

I mean you're in so many ways likeyou're hacking you're hacking bio right? Like this is what it is and like I meanI have like the dumb question to ask here, but I will ask it why not? Likegive me give me your sense of like how, not necessarily exactly what you do,but Just the use of the science that you're that you are implementing inessence what is the extreme of this in 20 years? You know? I know even todayyou can choose your Children's eye color, right? That's pretty that'spretty basic stuff. Perhaps you know costly but basic But like 20 years.What does this science turn into? Because it seems like we're in like thefirst inning of this and for the first you know, minute of this as opposed tofar down the line I think that where this is going, it's really personal inmedicine. So like if you imagine in the future you're going to go into ahospital. And right now we could do you know your whole genome in a day or soand the analysis I mean that's what takes I mean right now we could do 1000patients in under two hours. So like if you can think about it right withquantum, if you can do it in two hours we can get to it in seconds or even inan iphone. So I'm just you know, the future is you're going to go into thedoctor we're going to get sequenced in a few minutes or so and then theanalysis is going to be there for the doctor. So to be treated to see whichtreatment should be done for you right now. You know, horrible diseases likecancer, you just the standard therapy, it's like what you give to your plansto kill them, right? Like just really horrible stuff that standard and youjust want to kill all cells including all your normal tissue and it's notpersonalized so far and that has to change. It has to be personalizedbecause things like cancer cancer just means when the cells go bad. But eachof us have different cells, different eye color were a different person. Soyou know medical treatment has to...

...change and it has to be reallypersonalized. So the future is going to be where you're going to know whattreatment, how to do what you can eat, how you used to exercise, how howeverything you know would end up so you can have a better, better life, betterhealth, better life, healthy life, you know and your Children. That'sincredible. I like just it's just an honor to get to chat about stuff likethis because I really feel like you're changing the world and like you knowthe rest of us are just selling software so whatever. So there'sthere's luck and hard work that gets people to where they are, you know,give us give us some some you know lucky stroke within this that thatreally got you to this this place in your career. Uh you know how to really think aboutit because I I agree with you. I mean it's hard work, but also the luck thatcomes with it, You know, like the hard work one I always say and I always givethis example when what for for one of our investments, Microsoft wanted toinvest, invest eugenics. And now it's called, you know, venture sides calledhim 12 and I was closing that deal and my water broke. So of course I end upgoing to the hospital, but you know, I was the only one that could executethat deal and get it done. And I was in the maduro so they, you know legal keeptaking me out and I said stop taking me out like let's close this deal. I meanthe federal, what else am I going to like to watch the real housewives ofnew york, like there's, I can't walk and can go anywhere. I'm like 19 hours,so let's get this deal closed and get it done and out for five days. So youknow, it's you know, that's what I mean. It really takes to close deals and andwork really hard for what you oh, it's your company. But the luck, right? Likethe luck always has to be there. And I was really thinking, okay, what can Ireally say? And when I moved to this... to the states from Colombia andI was in Miami, I finished my last year of high school and I was doing a lot ofhigh school engineering and science fairs, I'm a super geek as you couldtell. So you know, I was getting awards and one of them, it was the intelscience and Engineering fair, which was the biggest high school science fair inthe world where all the countries bring the best and brightest and I wasrepresenting florida and I won that award and you know, it's in thenewspaper and Olga go Sierra who's Cuban american and the wife and cocacola ceo and founder, we saw me in the newspaper after winning their word andthen she, you know, she reached out to my university and whatever, meet me andthen gave me an endowment to go to private school for biology, Mathematics.Right? So like if you think about luck, it's like, what are the odds that shewas like looking at the newspaper? And I was like, my picture was there thatday at that time and then she like did all work to like find me and give methe first endowment and it was like $2 million. So I end up going for free tovery university in Miami because of the Goizueta Foundation, but that'sincredible. And obviously, Gosh, and when you think about the idea thatthere are people who are now living better lives because of all of thatseries of events happening, including this, this woman finding you in thepaper and the endowment and you putting that, putting that back into like, hey,I'm going to help people, like you could have done a lot of differentthings, but um, that's, that's an increase. That's such a special story.Um, that's awesome. Uh, but I was, I was really thinking, I was like, I look,I, I like, I know it's there, but you don't really think about it that muchbecause it just happens to you and you just make the best out of it, right?Like what else can you do? Well, it's one of the reasons why I like talkingabout it with people because you don't want to stop and think that there arethings that are out of your control,...

...but they are sometimes and, and forthose listening that maybe haven't had breaks, like maybe you or I have hadtheir, their, they will come, they things will break and it is do the hardwork and the local follow. I think that's, that's certainly part of it.Well look, we're going to, we're going to get through some of these otherquestions super quick. Any current roles that you're hiring for? Yes,we're currently hiring for a bunch of them. So go to my website, but the keyone that I'm looking for is a chief business officer. So somebody to helpme create more far more partnerships and so we can, you know, showcase ourworld, like our capabilities that invest a gen x and, you know, partnerwith the best pharma, so somebody has been there than that and can help meclose more deals awesome and, and so good, that's the right community toasking that for and any shout outs that you want to give people that inspireyou from a content perspective or things that you're following, I'd evengo as far to say like, is there is there a nice uh Lehman place to followsome of this to understand what's going on in the world of life sciences? Okay,so I will say maybe to shut out the first one because you asked me for likelayman terms, so the first one I'm following and it's like he's hilariousode in Russia v he's an Israeli professor who has the best memes in theworld, he's a twitter, he like, he makes my day, okay, so I and my teamknows this, I'm like, Giffey and memes are like, my thing, I think most of myresponses are that he has, I mean you have to be in science to kind ofunderstand, you know, the best thing ever, so if you haven't, you know,followed coded Russia, be uh he's like one of the best ones in twitter tofollow, he makes me laugh every single day and then for for like layman termsuh luke timmerman, he he does a Timmerman report and the long run, hisconcert, it's like some of the best...

...commentary and analysis for biotechindustry, like he has a podcast as well, which is the long run and the Timmermanreport kind of like summarizes everything and all everybody in biotechand in life sciences kind of follows and you know it's uh yeah, he, I thinkit's really good one to fall Yeah, well that's awesome. I'll be following bothjust so I can try to get educated into space last but not least certainlyimportant to me. Give me a restaurant, give me like a favorite restaurant thatmaybe we don't know about, that we should go to and go hang out at, youknow which 11 of my favorite restaurants I was saying I'm on food aswell. Okay, so keep you Takaya in Vancouver who even have been there? Yes,it's I'm sorry for the japanese, okay, and I love eating in japan, but it'sone of the best Izakaya that I've been ever I go there, I go to Vancouver justfor for for kim jong wow! All right, this is this is worthwhile to a trip upto Vancouver, I love it. You know, it's almost like I got to have you back onbecause we didn't touch on it, but I mean just you know, I have such animmense amount of respect for you as a woman and a mother and a Ceo and doingall those things and we'll save it all for another pot when we get how to bethe best female leader and also you know, a mother and a wife andeverything. And we were talking about it before, but like just so muchrespect for that and what you don't and where you've decided to put your careerand spend your time in terms of helping others. It's truly inspirational.Thanks for. And I really appreciate it. Yeah, it's not easy. But women, I'mtelling you we're multitaskers and we can make anything happen and do itbetter than everybody else. I endorse my endorse this statement for sure. Allright, well, uh Maria, thank you so much. So great to have you on. ThankBrandon. All right, that's our show.

Thank you so much for listening. If youlove the show, please rate and review in the Apple podcast. Spotify out. Sendit to some friends and make sure to smash that. Subscribe up reminder. Thisepisode was brought to you by Sin Does So they deliver modern direct mail,personalized gifts and other physical impressions that make your outreachmore personal. I had so much fun today. I hope you did too. And maybe evenlearn something now get out there and crush your numbers. Say something. Mhm.

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