Murielle Thinard McLane, CEO at Ontera
00:00 Why start in ag tech?
08:17 What is the model for human diagnostics?
11:12 Adding “ruggedization” and sample prep
17:51 Theranos had a good model, even if they failed
20:20 Where are you at on the timeline? Next steps?
We’ve interviewed several CEOs over the years since the Theranos fiasco who avoided any mention of the blighted company whenever the comparison came up. But today’s guest, Murielle Thinard McLane, the CEO of Ontera, jumped at the chance before Theral could get to it.
"Some people might say, well that's the Theranos model. They (Theranos) didn't get it wrong. The demand for a fast, comprehensive point-of-care solution near the patient is there. Where they got it wrong is that you need a technology that is sound to do that!"
Ontera is a spinout from UC Santa Cruz, and they came on the scene with a nanopore device/platorm that was so versatile that perhaps the biggest challenge they faced out of the gate was in choosing just what to do with it first.
And what makes it so great? It is small. It is fast. It can read any molecule. RNA, DNA, proteins, small molecules.
Think of the applications. It can be taken anywhere. Out into the field for agricultural testing. On location in Africa or South America for Zika virus testing or TB testing. Or, and this circles back to our earlier point, to your local Walgreens for basic diagnostic tests where you will receive immediate results.
The company has new leadership after a round of funding that includes Silicon Valley's forward thinking Vinod Khosla, and can boast already of partnerships with the Gates Foundation, IARPA, and Bayer.