This week’s episode of Speaking Of… (video below) features the founder/CEO of Halcyon Molecular, William Andregg.
Andregg grew up in Arizona. There’s a song by The Orb called Little Fluffy Clouds that describes the light-pollution-free Arizonan sky quite perfectly, with amazing clouds, sunsets and stars. Most Arizonans – at some point in their lives – will lay on the hood of their car and gaze towards the grandness of those fluffy clouds and the Milky Way, but most probably won’t come to the same conclusions that William did about it all.
William yearned to travel beyond the clouds to the stars, but become perplexed by the fact that he most likely wouldn’t make it due to an unfortunate condition that plagues us all — mortality. He knew that in order to reach the stars, which he so desperately wanted to do, he must dedicate most of his life to prolonging and increasing human lifespans so that he or others like him might have a chance to go where no man has truly gone before. In order to go big, he went very small. Our DNA.
Halcyon Molecular has come out of stealth mode, letting William tell his story in order to encourage a few good business women and men to join their plight to end aging. They’ve discovered an inexpensive and most importantly, fast way to sequence the entire human genome. If commercialized successfully, their discovery will change the world of medicine as we know it and increase our chances of living even longer.
Biotech startups are rare now, but we’re going to start seeing more and more of them pop up over the next decade. Technology that was once incredibly expensive is now becoming obtainable and the next wave of tech startups will delve into the largest market of all, human health. William is the only person I know with one of the world’s most powerful electron microscopes operating out of his garage, which is pretty damn cool.
What about frogs? Well, the dissection of frogs in high school almost led to William avoiding an entire career in biotech, which struck me as one of many things we should consider revising in our public education system. We need more Williams, not fewer.