Andy Tran is a partner at Andreessen Horowitz
In this episode of a16z bio Journal Club, general partner Vijay Pande, bio deal team partner Andy Tran, and bio editor Lauren Richardson discuss a novel CRISPR-Cas-based anti-viral strategy.The discussion covers the differences between this newly developed prophylactic strategy, traditional vaccines, and anti-viral drugs; how this strategy can be engineered to target a huge range of coronavirus and influenza strains; and the next steps needed to go from paper to practice:“Development of CRISPR as an Antiviral Strategy to Combat SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza” in Cell (April 2020), by Timothy Abbott, Girija Dhamdhere, Yanxia Liu, Xueqiu Lin, Laine Goudy, Leiping Zeng, Augustine Chemparathy, Stephen Chmura, Nicholas Heaton, Robert Debs, Tara Pande, Drew Endy, Marie La Russa, David Lewis, and Lei Qia16z Journal Club (part of the a16z Podcast), curates and covers recent advances from the scientific literature -- what papers we’re reading, and why they matter from our perspective at the intersection of biology & technology (for bio journal club). You can find all these episodes at
a16z Journal Club (part of the a16z Podcast), curates and covers recent advances from the scientific literature -- what papers we’re reading, and why they matter from our perspective at the intersection of biology & technology (for bio journal club). This inaugural episode covers 2 different topics, in discussion with Lauren Richardson:0:26 #1 identifying new antibiotics through a novel machine-learning based approach -- a16z general partner Vijay Pande and bio deal partner Andy Tran discuss the business of pharma; the specific methods/  how it works; and other applications for deep learning in drug discovery and development based on this paper:"A Deep Learning Approach to Antibiotic Discovery" in Cell (February 2020), by Jonathan Stokes, Kevin Yang, Kyle Swanson, Wengong Jin, Andres Cubillos-Ruiz, Nina Donghia, Craig MacNair, Shawn French, Lindsey Carfrae, Zohar Bloom-Ackermann, Victoria Tran, Anush Chiappino-Pepe, Ahmed Badran, Ian Andrews, Emma Chory, George Church, Eric Brown, Tommi Jaakkola, Regina Barzilay, James Collins11:43 #2 characterizing the novel coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic -- a16z bio deal partner Judy Savitskaya shares what we can learn from the protein structures; the relationship to the 2002-2004 SARS epidemic; and more based on these two research articles: "Structure, Function, and Antigenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein" in Cell (April 2020), by Alexandra Walls, Young-Jun Park, M. Tortorici, Abigail Wall, Andrew McGuire, David Veesler"Cryo-EM structure of the 2019-nCoV spike in the prefusion conformation" in Science (March 2020), by Daniel Wrapp, Nianshuang Wang, Kizzmekia Corbett, Jory Goldsmith, Ching-Lin Hsieh, Olubukola Abiona, Barney Graham, Jason McLellanYou can find these episodes at
Two recent scientific journal papers show what's possible when CRISPR moves from cutting DNA tool to a full-fledged platform -- expanding its toolkit for medicine across R&D, therapeutics, and diagnostics: "Transposon-encoded CRISPR-Cas systems direct RNA-guided DNA integration" in Nature -- by Sanne Klompe, Phuc Vo, Tyler Halpin-Healy, and Samuel Sternberg (of Columbia University) "RNA-guided DNA insertion with CRISPR-associated transposases" in Science -- by Jonathan Strecker, Alim Ladha, Zachary Gardner, Jonathan Schmid-burgk, Kira Makarova, Eugene Koonin, and Feng Zhang (of the Broad Institute) What do these two papers -- both about techniques for getting rid of the need to cut the genome to edit it -- make possible going forward, given the ongoing shift of biology becoming more like engineering? Where are we in the wave of the genome engineering "developer community" building on top of CRISPR with a constantly growing suite of programmable functionalities? a16z bio general partner Jorge Conde and bio deal team partner Andy Tran chat with Hanne Tidnam about these trends -- and these two papers -- in this short internal hallway-style conversation, part of our new a16z Journal Club series. This podcast is also part of our new a16z bio newsletter, which you can sign up for at
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Creator Details

Menlo Park, California, United States of America
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
56 minutes, 50 seconds
Podchaser Creator ID logo 403958