The current Covid-19 pandemic sadly all too clearly demonstrates the need for continual improvements and growth in the field of healthcare. Many people take their health for granted, however, this crisis will surely encourage society to reassess its priorities and give importance to those things that are really essential.
Speaking at the Founders Forum Health Tech Summit at London Tech Week in September, The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced a £140 million investment scheme to find and create new artificial intelligence (AI) programmes to improve patient health and care in the NHS. Mr Hancock spoke of three areas of focus for the NHS going forward: “improving the environment of innovation”, better use of data and changing the culture of the use of health technology. This scheme clearly underscores the fact that technology is at the centre of the Government’s approach to health and life longevity.
It’s not only the Government which is using technology to help us live longer, Silicon Valley tech giants are also utilising technology and AI in an attempt to extend the human lifespan. Notable technologies being developed include: implanting robotic muscles inside human bodies to help increase lifespan, the production of AI-powered drug discovery and the use of nanotechnology to place tiny machines into human blood streams and brains in the hope that they can free us of diseases.
I was a very early investor in both healthcare and biotech, particularly focusing on early-stage companies looking to utilise the latest advancements in technology to make much-needed breakthroughs in their fields. My focus when I first invested in this area was to support the companies on a mission to help people live both longer and healthier lives; and this remains my focus today.
Two of my portfolio companies are great example of how the right investor support can affect a real positive change in the healthcare field. The first is Gordian Biotech which has developed a pioneering platform capable of reducing the clinical testing times for the development of new drugs. The second is Cambrian Biopharma, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company founded in 2019 focused on developing therapies to prevent and cure age-related diseases with the help of AI. These examples are a testament to the powerful impact that meaningful investor support can have on these extremely valuable and innovative companies.
I also invest in products and ideas which help bring greater ease to people’s everyday lives, such as Elvie, co-founded by Tania Boler in 2014. The company has made great progress in developing products including the world’s first silent, wearable breast pump and the kegel pelvic trainer, which are making a real difference to the lives of women across the world. The company was one of the early pioneers of the rapidly growing “Femtech” sector.
Over the last decade, we have come leaps and bounds within the field of technology and innovation. Now more than ever, is it essential that we continue to invest in improving and developing technologies, as this truly is the key to health, longevity and fighting the current and any future pandemic.