Venture funding in life sciences over the last few decades has been focused on pharmaceutical solutions, using biochemistry to create synthetic cures and treatments. Our focus by contrast is on the fast-evolving nutraceutical industry, where there is growing recognition of the preventive and curative powers of plants and natural products. We believe that consumers are increasingly open to natural solutions for the treatment of certain illnesses, and healthy living generally. We believe that natural medicine must substantiate its health benefit claims using the Western scientific method, following the lead of medicinal cannabis, which has a growing body of published, peer-reviewed studies and clinical trials supporting its safety and efficacy.
We founded and built a Canadian headquartered global B2B supplier of regulated nutraceuticals. We were also early investors in a proprietary North American medical device solution that offers standardized dosing through pre-packaged medical cartridges supported by a smart application for measuring patient impact.
The longevity arena is a microcosm of much of what we see happening in life sciences more generally, with intense activity at two ends of the spectrum. At one end, there is cutting-edge scientific research into the causes of ageing. At the other end is the vast, relatively unscientific, wellness subsector.
To powerfully engage with consumers, we must draw from both camps. Our interest lies at the intersection of these two perspectives, with a focus on longevity solutions that are backed by scientific method, but which may be entirely natural in origin (for example, nutrition and lifestyle-based solutions, which continue to be underestimated by many in the mainstream healthcare system).
The challenging dynamics of care for the elderly in the advanced economies are well documented, especially in the realm of dementia where the absence of a cure compounds stresses in the care sector. We recognize that innovative solutions that increase the effectiveness and overall quality of care and its accessibility to more of the population, are going to create substantial commercial opportunities. Such solutions serve a vital societal purpose and fall squarely within the SX2 Ventures mandate.
Technology certainly has a role here, for example, in maximizing access to resources thereby increasing accessibility and reducing cost in the process. On the other hand, care services by their nature will continue to rely on human interaction at the point of delivery, meaning that traditional business challenges and solutions remain highly relevant. And cultural disruption will increasingly be a factor to consider.For example, as our senior citizens continue to prioritize ‘quality of life’ over ‘life at all costs’, new solutions for end-of-life care must be found. Ultimately, as euthanasia and assisted dying gains wider acceptance, significant investment and innovation will be required to address the changing societal norms.
We are only beginning to understand the widespread prevalence of mental illness in society and to appreciate that it is no different from physical illness in terms of the burden it places on patients, families, employers and national health systems. All countries, including rich advanced ones, are emerging markets when it comes to mental illness. As the stigma associated with mental illness decreases and medical advances continue, more patients will seek treatment, placing an even greater demand on public health services. This will open up opportunities for the private sector to develop new solutions and business models that are at once affordable at benchmark quality and investable.
We are building a next-generation dementia care facility incorporating technological advancements. The facility’s goal is to stimulate patients and help maximize independence and functioning to make their symptoms more manageable and to support caregivers.
Recent studies have shown that increasing the quality, not quantity, of healthcare services is the more pressing need in many emerging markets. From a financial sustainability perspective, solutions that increase affordability and access, as well as quality, will succeed in a competitive marketplace. As a result, our focus is on reimagining the manner in which private healthcare services are delivered in high population-growth emerging markets, to achieve increases in quality, affordability and access. We are also working on technology-driven solutions that substantially reduce price points in order to increase access to benchmark quality services for entire populations.