Software is now eating medicine

November 18, 2015, 3:15 PM UTC

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz this morning announced that it has raised $200 million for a new fund “focused on the intersection of computer sciences and life sciences.” This is all new money from existing investors, rather than a carve-out allocation from the firm’s flagship fund.

The new life sciences fund will be led by new general partner Vijay Pande, who joins A16Z, as Andreessen Horowitz is widely known, from the Folding@Home Distributed Computing Project for disease research and, before that, was a professor of chemistry, structural biology, and computer science at Stanford University. Pande is getting a stake in existing A16Z funds, while existing A16Z partners are also taking a stake in the fund Pande will run.

Pande says his new fund’s investment thesis will lean heavily on the Erooms Law (i.e., Moore’s Law spelled backwards), which suggests anything with highly-specific individual applications (pharma, tuition, etc.) sees its cost rise exponentially on a regular basis. So don’t expect many drug deals.

Instead, Pande cites three areas of particular interest: Digital therapeutics where software can help scale existing behavioral therapies; tech-enabled biology, suggesting that real-time biological testing in the cloud could change healthcare just like the cloud changed enterprise software; and computational medicine, where “machine learning is already having a huge impact.”

“We raised $200 million today, but think this is a very large opportunity and expect that number to grow in the future,” explains Scott Kupor, managing partner at A16Z. “We’re more constrained by the fact that we don’t have 5 Vijays, rather than the market size.”

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