The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year 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 the pavilion podcast. I'm your host, Brandon Martin you are listening to. Is this a good time? The show where I put pavilion members on the hot seat for 15 minutes and we hear their incredible stories and wow do we have an incredible one today. We really shows Tuesdays and Thursdays and if you hit subscribe you will not miss hearing stories like the incredible one for today. Our guest is dr Maria luisa Panetta. She's the Ceo and co founder of Envisages Gen X. Excuse me. And we talk about literally curing cancer. This one sponsors Sandoz. So Sandoz, so the leading sending platform is the most effective way for revenue generating teams to stand out with new ways to engage at strategic points throughout the customer journey by connecting digital and physical strategies. Companies can engage, acquire and retain customers easier than ever before. All right, let's do this. Episode 79 is this a good time? All right. When I'm super excited to have dr Maria luisa Panera on the show today, she is the Ceo co founder of Envisages Gen X and Life Sciences start up uh just different than the normal type 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 jump right into it. Tell us about your company what you do and then and then I want you to back up and give us a little bit. I mean obviously you've gotten your degree. So you had to go through all of those years of schooling and from schooling to becoming an entrepreneur like this. It's not always a path that a doctor is taking. So I'd love to back up all the way and kind of bring us up to where you are but tell us about envisages sticks first. So envisage nx what we do. We have an ai company that uses sequencing human sequencing for identifying therapeutics and fixing them with our N. A. So if you know everybody's gone through covid,... kind of now are often your RNA is we basically try to get all those patients all their samples, analyzed their data and identify RNA errors and then and design therapeutics to fix them like a little band aid and by doing that, hopefully patients could live longer and you know, women with metastatic breast cancer, consider Children get married and and Children with leukemias can survive more than two years and have a a successful life and grew up. So you're literally curing cancer. Let's just let's just throw this on the table. Yes, that is the title of what we're doing. We wanna fucking cure cancer And als, let's put it that way, wow. So and so look um I like to pretend like I know what our DNA does and everything okay. In reality it is special. It's almost as if 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 to go in and help manipulate the existing DNA that's ever fix the little DNA that's there. But you do. How does this work? I mean this is it's sci fi. It's pretty cool. So look just bauji like one oh one DNA RNA protein proteins will make all our tissues our bodies work properly. Right? So every time there's a disease or there's something going wrong means like your proteins are there's something going wrong with them. So what we do is that instead of going all the way to D. N. A. Because we all look the same. Right? But you and I have different eye color, right? Yours is blue. Mine is brown. But it's the 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, use data science and biology and cloud...

...computing. So we can go through tons and tons of patient data. So we can see these different, you know ISA forms are an Ai So forms all these proteins and understand which one went wrong and then try to fix them, wow. And and the fixing part happens like again, you're sending a soldier in to do the fixing like again that seems like sci fi that seems like a little pots going into my body. But my gosh, but I think that it's a beautiful part of allergy. So, you know, if you are in a, it's basically we we take in we'll take a little piece of RNA. We put it in that goes into the cell and then it tells, you know, it fixes that issue. So when the 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 basically using 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 just tell us about the origins of the company. I mean, is this something you've always wanted to do? You know, you were, you've done a bunch of other things 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 part of tel. So after my PhD at Cold Spring Harbor lab, I end up going to work with venture 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 he called 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 muscular atrophy. And I said, yes, he goes, well the Children that couldn't move a single muscle are now sending like thank you notes and Henry in pictures and trinkets to our professor. So it's...

...working, working and okay so then you know we went and met into a Starbucks close back to the lab and then he showed me the data, show me some of the pictures. One of them is like an iron man that I always used for conferences where this child with S. M. A. S. It's horrible 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 thanking him for making the drug possible because he could walk smile. I was like holy sh it is amazing I want to do this. So you know I was working with the VCS And I said well let's give it a name and we're both Latinos. So we wanted to kind of you know take the technology commercialized it out of the institution and then make it into a company. So we could do it again for different diseases. And instead of doing it manually like we did that because 12 years I don't make the process. So we could do it in a few years instead of 12. So we can you know sequencing was starting cloud computing was starting and I said hey you know my husband's working in cloud computing things, nobody knows where it is. But apparently can click a button and you can scale, you know, all the machinery and just analyze ship faster and he goes okay. And then sequencing was getting faster, better cheaper. And I said well let's do everything. We can automate this process, do it again and give it a name. So you know we're Latinos. So we said okay let's put something to look into the future which means envisage and we do a mix which is you know the study of using genetic medicine or genetic sequencing and we put those together and call it on this eugenics and I you know put the deck together with him and then he presented to my bosses and I was sitting in the room and they look back and they're like you did this deck right? And I said yes, you know he's a scientist, he went to take me on in Israel but you know him he was his Children, his twins...

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

I mean you're in so many ways like you're hacking you're hacking bio right? Like this is what it is and like I mean I have like the dumb question to ask here, but I will ask it why not? Like give 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 in essence what is the extreme of this in 20 years? You know? I know even today you can choose your Children's eye color, right? That's pretty that's pretty 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 the first inning of this and for the first you know, minute of this as opposed to far down the line I think that where this is going, it's really personal in medicine. So like if you imagine in the future you're going to go into a hospital. And right now we could do you know your whole genome in a day or so and the analysis I mean that's what takes I mean right now we could do 1000 patients in under two hours. So like if you can think about it right with quantum, if you can do it in two hours we can get to it in seconds or even in an iphone. So I'm just you know, the future is you're going to go into the doctor we're going to get sequenced in a few minutes or so and then the analysis is going to be there for the doctor. So to be treated to see which treatment should be done for you right now. You know, horrible diseases like cancer, you just the standard therapy, it's like what you give to your plans to kill them, right? Like just really horrible stuff that standard and you just want to kill all cells including all your normal tissue and it's not personalized so far and that has to change. It has to be personalized because things like cancer cancer just means when the cells go bad. But each of us have different cells, different eye color were a different person. So you know medical treatment has to...

...change and it has to be really personalized. So the future is going to be where you're going to know what treatment, how to do what you can eat, how you used to exercise, how how everything you know would end up so you can have a better, better life, better health, better life, healthy life, you know and your Children. That's incredible. I like just it's just an honor to get to chat about stuff like this because I really feel like you're changing the world and like you know the rest of us are just selling software so whatever. So there's there'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 that really got you to this this place in your career. Uh you know how to really think about it because I I agree with you. I mean it's hard work, but also the luck that comes with it, You know, like the hard work one I always say and I always give this example when what for for one of our investments, Microsoft wanted to invest, invest eugenics. And now it's called, you know, venture sides called him 12 and I was closing that deal and my water broke. So of course I end up going to the hospital, but you know, I was the only one that could execute that deal and get it done. And I was in the maduro so they, you know legal keep taking me out and I said stop taking me out like let's close this deal. I mean the federal, what else am I going to like to watch the real housewives of new 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 you know, it's you know, that's what I mean. It really takes to close deals and and work really hard for what you oh, it's your company. But the luck, right? Like the luck always has to be there. And I was really thinking, okay, what can I really say? And when I moved to this... to the states from Colombia and I was in Miami, I finished my last year of high school and I was doing a lot of high school engineering and science fairs, I'm a super geek as you could tell. So you know, I was getting awards and one of them, it was the intel science and Engineering fair, which was the biggest high school science fair in the world where all the countries bring the best and brightest and I was representing florida and I won that award and you know, it's in the newspaper and Olga go Sierra who's Cuban american and the wife and coca cola ceo and founder, we saw me in the newspaper after winning their word and then she, you know, she reached out to my university and whatever, meet me and then 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 she was like looking at the newspaper? And I was like, my picture was there that day at that time and then she like did all work to like find me and give me the first endowment and it was like $2 million. So I end up going for free to very university in Miami because of the Goizueta Foundation, but that's incredible. And obviously, Gosh, and when you think about the idea that there are people who are now living better lives because of all of that series of events happening, including this, this woman finding you in the paper 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 different things, 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 much because 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 talking about it with people because you don't want to stop and think that there are things that are out of your control,...

...but they are sometimes and, and for those listening that maybe haven't had breaks, like maybe you or I have had their, their, they will come, they things will break and it is do the hard work 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 other questions 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 key one that I'm looking for is a chief business officer. So somebody to help me create more far more partnerships and so we can, you know, showcase our world, like our capabilities that invest a gen x and, you know, partner with the best pharma, so somebody has been there than that and can help me close more deals awesome and, and so good, that's the right community to asking that for and any shout outs that you want to give people that inspire you from a content perspective or things that you're following, I'd even go as far to say like, is there is there a nice uh Lehman place to follow some 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 like layman terms, so the first one I'm following and it's like he's hilarious ode in Russia v he's an Israeli professor who has the best memes in the world, he's a twitter, he like, he makes my day, okay, so I and my team knows this, I'm like, Giffey and memes are like, my thing, I think most of my responses are that he has, I mean you have to be in science to kind of understand, 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 to follow, he makes me laugh every single day and then for for like layman terms uh luke timmerman, he he does a Timmerman report and the long run, his concert, it's like some of the best...

...commentary and analysis for biotech industry, like he has a podcast as well, which is the long run and the Timmerman report kind of like summarizes everything and all everybody in biotech and in life sciences kind of follows and you know it's uh yeah, he, I think it's really good one to fall Yeah, well that's awesome. I'll be following both just so I can try to get educated into space last but not least certainly important to me. Give me a restaurant, give me like a favorite restaurant that maybe we don't know about, that we should go to and go hang out at, you know which 11 of my favorite restaurants I was saying I'm on food as well. 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's one of the best Izakaya that I've been ever I go there, I go to Vancouver just for for for kim jong wow! All right, this is this is worthwhile to a trip up to Vancouver, I love it. You know, it's almost like I got to have you back on because we didn't touch on it, but I mean just you know, I have such an immense amount of respect for you as a woman and a mother and a Ceo and doing all those things and we'll save it all for another pot when we get how to be the best female leader and also you know, a mother and a wife and everything. And we were talking about it before, but like just so much respect for that and what you don't and where you've decided to put your career and 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'm telling you we're multitaskers and we can make anything happen and do it better than everybody else. I endorse my endorse this statement for sure. All right, well, uh Maria, thank you so much. So great to have you on. Thank Brandon. All right, that's our show.

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

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