Today’s guest on The Long Run is Ivan Liachko.
Ivan the founder and CEO of Seattle-based Phase Genomics.
First off, Ivan is originally from Kiev, Ukraine. He came with his family to the US at the age of 11, around the time of the fall of the old Soviet Union. When Russia invaded Ukraine back in February, he spoke up and mobilized his team and members of the biotech community to stand with the people of Ukraine.
That was interesting. But it turns out the work at Phase Genomics is also quite interesting.
Phase Genomics is helping scientists assemble difficult to put-together genomes, and metagenomes. That’s an extra tricky form of assembly of the DNA jigsaw puzzle that comes when you have a whole bunch of microorganisms co-existing in the messiness of life you find in something like a slab of dirt. One interesting application is now being supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The company is creating a repository of phage – bacteria interactions – a so-called interactome – that could be used to help identify precise phage therapies that could be used to fend off scourges from drug-resistant bacteria.
Talking with Ivan reminds me of the magic that comes when the right person lands in the right place at the right time. He and I come from very different backgrounds, but we both appreciate what’s special about Seattle as a community, and the long tradition of the United States as a leader in research and entrepreneurship. He is an immigrant who has had some success, and might have quite a bit more, partly because of his own skills and initiative, but also in large part because of the surrounding community, research culture, and business traditions.
Now before we get started, a word from the sponsors of The Long Run.
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Now, please join me and Ivan on The Long Run.