Why Amazon invested in this cancer-testing startup founded by a Google exec

Amazon invested in a company called Grail back in March. It wasn't clear why.
The answer? It's all about the cloud.

Christina Farr | @chrissyfarr
4 Hours Ago

A health start-up called Grail is developing one of the most ambitious technologies in Silicon Valley.

And Amazon wants a piece of it.

According to two sources familiar, Amazon invested in Grail as a very special kind of future customer for its cloud business.

Grail is hoping that its can use deep sequencing technology to detect the earliest signs of cancer in the blood, while it's still treatable. That requires a huge amount of data processing and storage.

That's potentially a huge business for Amazon Web Services.

Reuters reported that the market to store human genetic data is expected to be worth $1 billion by 2018. By 2025, an anticipated 100 million and 2 billion human genomics could be sequenced, according to a 2015 report. Biologists have long-anticipated that the computing resources to handle all that data would outweigh Twitter and YouTube.

Grail's test will not be commercialized in the U.S. for years -- it is aiming for 2019 -- but it will be dabbling in huge data-sets well before then.

It needs to run large-scale clinical studies to demonstrate to industry stakeholders that its technology is both sensitive and accurate. Hundreds of thousands of people will need to be sequenced for each of these studies. And the genomes will need to be securely stored somewhere.

Amazon's investment, initially reported earlier this year, was a little surprising. The e-commerce and cloud services leader doesn't typically bet on start-ups in the regulated life sciences sector. Moreover, Grail CEO Jeff Huber, was a long-time executive at Google, an Amazon rival. (Google also invested in an earlier fund-raising round for Grail through GV, its venture arm, now a division of Google holding company Alphabet.)

But these companies are "positioning themselves for something they think will be big," said Zamin Iqbal, who leads a computational genomics research group at the European Bioinformatics Institute.

Iqbal doesn't expect revenues to be significant yet, in part due to privacy concerns and lack of uptick for whole genome analysis from health providers.

But that could all change in the coming years. "The future of genomics is likely to involve the cloud heavily," he continued.

Another factor that drew Amazon into the deal was Grail's presence in Asia, the people said. In March, the company merged with a blood diagnostics company in China. Amazon AWS only announced the availability of the Asia Pacific region in June of 2017.









Bezos was born as Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen in 1964 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Jacklyn (née Gise) and Ted Jorgensen.[15] His maternal ancestors were settlers who lived in Texas, and over the generations acquired a 25,000-acre (101 km2 or 39 miles2) ranch near Cotulla. As of March 2015, Bezos was among the largest landholders in Texas.[16] Bezos's maternal grandfather was a regional director of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in Albuquerque. He retired early to the ranch, where Bezos spent many summers as a youth, working with him.[17] At an early age, he displayed mechanical aptitude—as a toddler, he dismantled his crib with a screwdriver.[18]
Bezos's mother Jacklyn was a teenager at the time of his birth. Her marriage to Jorgensen lasted a little more than a year. In April 1968 (when Jeff was 4), she married her second husband, Miguel Bezos, a Cuban who immigrated to the United States alone when he was 15 years old. His family was originally from Villafrechós, a little town in Valladolid (Spain). Miguel Bezos worked his way through the University of New Mexico and married Jacklyn, becoming Jeff Jorgensen's step-father, who had his surname changed to Bezos. After the wedding the family moved to Houston (Texas) and Miguel worked as an engineer for Exxon. The young Jeff attended River Oaks Elementary School in Houston from fourth to sixth grade. As a child, he spent summers working on his grandfather's ranch in southern Texas.[19]
Bezos often displayed scientific interests and technological proficiency; he once rigged an electric alarm to keep his younger siblings out of his room.[20] The family moved to Miami, Florida, where he attended Miami Palmetto High School. While in high school, he attended the Student Science Training Program at the University of Florida, receiving a Silver Knight Award in 1982.[21] He was high school valedictorian[22] and a National Merit Scholar.[23]
Bezos graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University with Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in electrical engineering and computer science.[24] While at Princeton, he was also elected to Tau Beta Pi. He served as the president of the Princeton chapter of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.[25]
After graduating from Princeton in 1986, Bezos worked on Wall Street in the computer science field.[26] He then worked on building a network for international trade for a company known as Fitel.[27] He next worked at Bankers Trust.[28] Later on he also worked on Internet-enabled business opportunities at the hedge fund company D. E. Shaw & Co.[29]

The firm was founded by David E. Shaw, a former Columbia University faculty member, and has more than 1,300 employees.[3] David Shaw directed the company from 1988 to 2001. In 2002, David Shaw removed himself from day to day involvement in the firm, and transitioned leadership to a team of six managing directors: Anne Dinning, Julius Gaudio, Louis Salkind, Stuart Steckler, Max Stone and Eric Wepsic.[4] The firm's management structure of the same six-member executive committee remained intact through 2010.[3][5]
In 1997, the firm returned capital to most of its early investors in favor of a structured credit facility of nearly $2 billion from Bank of America, with terms that allowed D.E. Shaw & Co. to keep a higher fraction of profits than hedge fund investors normally allow.[6] After the Russian debt default in 1998, the company suffered losses in its fixed-income trading.[7]
In December 2003, a subsidiary of one of the company's funds acquired the toy store FAO Schwarz, which reopened for business in New York and Las Vegas in the fall of 2004. In the same year, D. E. Shaw affiliate, Laminar Portfolios, acquired the online assets of KB Toys, which continued operating as eToys.com.[8] In August 2004, D. E. Shaw & Co., along with MIC Capital, proposed to inject $50M into the bankrupt WCI Steel. In December 2004, D.E. Shaw & Co. bought 6.6% of USG Corp, a wallboard manufacturer seeking bankruptcy protection as a result of rising asbestos liabilities.[9]
In 2006, Lawrence Summers became managing director at D.E. Shaw & Co. and left in 2008, receiving $5.2 million in compensation for that period.[10] In late 2009 during the Financial Crisis it was reported that D.E. Shaw & Co. had set up a Portfolio Acquisitions Unit, the aim of which was to acquire illiquid assets from rival hedge funds.[11]
D.E. Shaw entered the Indian market in 2006,[12] with Anil Chawla, then the CEO of GE-Commercial finance, India & South East Asia, as the Country Manager. The India operations are headquartered in Hyderabad, Telangana. Under Anil Chawla as the CEO for India, D.E. Shaw entered into several large private equity deals in the country. This included the setting up of a joint-venture company with India's largest private sector company Reliance Industries [13] to provide financial services; real estate company DLF Assets Limited; publishing group Amar Ujala Publications; animation company, Crest Communications and renewable energy company, Soham Energy. After stepping down as CEO of D.E.Shaw in 2012, Anil Chawla continued as an advisor to the company until 2014.

In 2007, David Shaw sold a 20% minority stake to Lehman Brothers, as part of a broader strategy to diversify his personal holdings.[14] At the time of its bankruptcy in September 2008, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. had holdings in D.E. Shaw & Co.[1


4 件のコメント:

ミネ さんのコメント...

はぁ 毎度乍らの ほんっとどいつもこいつもだなぁ
倭 社用車同乗時に赤信号ぶっ放しの信号無視やる安全担当長とか
佐川 キチ特攻させる などなど個人的にはークソばっか という意味合いも含まるけど


前はてんこもりサンの一日一日を大公開してほちぃ の出来れば感だったけど
今はてんこもりサンの一日一日を公開すべき 思う

匿名 さんのコメント...



匿名 さんのコメント...




海外生活を公開されても日本で参考にできないのでは? と思っとります

匿名 さんのコメント...


でもヨドバシもなんかあるんですよね? (藤沢? ピンときてない…)

全世界での節税企業、あれどうにもならないんですかね (アップルもでしたっけ