The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 11 months ago

Ep 180: Literally Curing Cancer w/ Maria Luisa Pineda (Best of 2021)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 180: Literally Curing Cancer w/ Maria Luisa Pineda (Best of 2021) 

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

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Pavilion podcast. I am your host, Brandon martin you are listening to. Is this a good time? We're doing something special here for the last couple of weeks of december, taking some time away and uh spending it with family and, and re energizing as I hope you are while, while you are listening and just catching up on your podcast and so playing some of the best episodes of 2021. These are throwbacks. I went with some recent throwbacks that I wanted to put back up there. Um some some of my favorite episodes of the second half of the year as we've, we've done a little of this in august so uh this is a few folks that I just think we're incredible guests on the pod and uh I hope you you think so to enjoy, have a safe and healthy and happy holidays and looking forward to getting back with everybody in the new year. Hello everyone and welcome back to the Pavilion podcast. I'm your host, Brandon Martin you're 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 show 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 Pineda. She's the Ceo and co founder of Envisages. Envisages gen X, Excuse me and we talked about literally curing cancer. This one sponsor is 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? Alright everyone, 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 startup. Just different than the normal type of person that we talked to. I am so excited to have you on the pod. Thanks for 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 six first gen experts. So envisage genic. So 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 has gone through covid you kind of now are all from 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 you know patients could live longer and you know women with metastatic breast cancer considered Children you know get married and and Children with leukemias can survive more than two years and have a you know a successful life and grow 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 ls let's put it that way wow this is so and so look um I like to pretend like I know what our D. N. A. Does and everything okay. In reality it is special. It's almost as if you're programming cells that cells is you tell him 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 there or fix the little DNA that's there. But you're doing. I mean like how does this work? I mean this is it's sci fi it's pretty cool. So look it's just biology like 101 D. N. A. RNA protein protein is we'll 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 ours? Different. We have different protein of eye color. Right? Does it call Aisa 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 Aissa forms RNA Aisa forms all these proteins and understand which ones 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 this 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 biology. So you know if you if RNA it's basically we we take in we 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 and it's perfect way. So we can fix 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 you were you had done a bunch of other things before you are consultant 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 postdoctoral student at Cold Spring Harbor. And he called me, he said, hey, he's Argentina. And so he called me in spanish today Maria luisa, you're working with all the rich people. And I said, yeah, what's up? And 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 hand written pictures and trinkets to our professor. So it's working, working. And I said okay. So then, you know, we went and met into a Starbucks close back to the lab. And then he showed me the data showed 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. This horrible genetic disorder where the muscles don't work because of an RNA error. He was sending a thank you know for my Professor Dr Adrian Craner thanking him for like making the drug possible because he could walk smile and 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, commercialize 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 it took us 12 years. I don't need a process. So we could do it in you know a few years instead of 12. So we could 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 to 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 betweens envisage and we do our mix which is you know the study of using genetic medicine or genetic sequencing and we put those together and we call it envisage NX 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 looked back and they're like you did this deck right? And I said yes you know he's a scientist, he want 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 to my bosses and you know he was they looked back and said if you if you like it that much would basically give you a precede um ai my salary and you take over as ceo and you know you can start the company we started visiting almost 78 years ago. Oh wow. And where are you in the journey now are you know it's still venture backed is it is it still yeah venture back. We just closed our a round thanks man, we just closed our around. But I mean when we started estrogenic six, 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 interstate was 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 are we going to make revenue, how we're gonna survive, how we're gonna pay our, you know, 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 generated revenue and choose who 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 like tech investors that are interested in deep tech just what they cause. Yeah sure sure. They don't really understand what we do but they know that we are doing awesome. You know, science. I mean you're you're, you know 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 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 it 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 with if you can think about it right with quantum, if you can do it in two hours we can do 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, you're gonna 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 it 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 health, better life, you know and your Children. That's incredible. I 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 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, you know how to really think about it because 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 a gen X and now it's called, you know the venture sites called M 12 and I was closing that deal and my water broke. So of course I ended 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 epidural 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 epidural, what else am I gonna like? Do you watch the real housewives of new york? Like There's, I can't walk, I can't go anywhere have like 19 hours, so let's get this deal close and get it done and I'm out for five days. So you know, it's so you know, that's what I mean, It really takes to close deals and and work really hard for what you oh my God, 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 country 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 for, 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 Goizueta, he was Cuban american and the wife and coca cola ceo and founder saw me in the newspaper after winning the award 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. 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. But I was I was really thinking I was like I look I I like I know it's there, but I don't 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 why 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 luck will 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, you know, 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 pharma partnerships and so we can, you know, showcase our world, like our capabilities that envisage n IX and you know, partner with the best pharma, so somebody has been there done that and can help me close more deals, awesome and and so good that's the right community they're asking that for um and uh any shout outs that you want to give that people that inspire you from a content perspective or things that...

...you're following. Um 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 up the first one because you asked me for like, layman terms, So the first one I'm following it and it's like, he's hilarious, Odin, Razavi, he's an Israeli professor who has the best means in the world, he's a twitter. He like, he makes my day. Okay, so I and my team knows this. I'm like, Jiffy 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, sure they're the best thing ever. So if you haven't, you know, followed coded racial B 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 the Timmerman report and the long run his concept, 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 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, 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 a foodie as well. Okay, so keep kaya in Vancouver if you have not 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 stock ideas I've been ever. Like I go there I go to Vancouver just for for for kim jong wow, alright, this...

...is, this is worthwhile to a trip up to Vancouver. I love it. Well, yes, 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 pod 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've built and where you've decided to to put your career and spend your time in terms of helping others. It's truly inspirational. No thanks Brandon. 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 endorse this statement for sure. Alright, well look, Maria, thank you so much. Um so great to have you on. 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 and send it to some friends and make sure to smash that subscribe button 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. Mhm.

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