Leroy Hood speaks at BIO2004: Sequence a whole genome for <$1000 in ten years

Along with a friend, I recently entered a business plan in the Telus New Ventures BC competition. My plan was about a service where every six months a person would get an updated report on their risk factors as more information was known. I pulled the plan because I do not have the contacts or resources in that industry to make that particular business a reality…yet.

Leroy Hood, father of the Institute of Systems Biology, and cofounder of numerous biotechnology companies including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Systemix, Darwin, Rosetta, and MacroGenics, was speaking at the BIO2004 conference in San Francisco and talked about a business idea basically like the one that we submitted. According to the New Zealand Herald author:

A drop of blood from a thumbprick will be enough to test 10,000 elements of our health a decade or two from now…Six-monthly genetic checkups would warn of the susceptibility to diseases such as heart disease, allowing people to take cholesterol-thinning pills and change their diet long before the at-risk age for heart attacks. It would also catch cancer and other slow-growth diseases early enough to allow treatment.

Hood said: “My prediction is that, if this comes through over the next 30 years or so, we will see an enormous elongation of perhaps 10 to 20 years in the productive lifespan of each individual.”

According to Hood though, the timeline we were talking about in our plan was out of whack. We were likely too early by a couple of years. And market timing is everything. We’ll have to set that one aside for another 24-36 months….