Verge Genomics (YC S15) Uses Algorithms To Find Drugs For Brain Diseases 1000X Faster

by Alexis Ohanian7/21/2015

Neurological diseases have historically been very complex to treat. That’s partly because brain diseases are caused by complex interactions between many genes, while many researchers and drug discoveries target just one gene at a time.

Verge Genomics is a startup in our current class that takes an algorithmic approach to map out the hundreds of genes that cause a brain disease such as Alzheimers, ALS, and Parkinsons. Verge Genomics then searches for drugs that target all the relevant genes at once. This system means that Verge Analytics can find the right combination of drugs for a brain disease up to 1000 times faster than current approaches.

TechCrunch’s Jordan Crook interviewed Verge Genomics’ co-founders in a story today:

“‘I like to use a basketball analogy,’ said co-founder Jason Chen. ‘Big pharma is taking the approach of covering the best player on the
court, whereas we approach the game by spreading out our defense and
covering the whole team, man-to-man.’

The plan is to partner with pharmaceutical companies to accelerate
what is now an antiquated process of blind testing of single genes.
Using the Verge Genomics technology, these companies will be able to
locate entire gene networks causing neurodegenerative diseases, as well
as using existing approved drugs (which may have expired patents) to
treat these diseases while saving time and money.”

You can read more about Verge Genomics on TechCrunch here, and participate in the related discussion on Hacker News here.


  • Alexis Ohanian