James Peyer is the founder and Managing Partner of Apollo Ventures, an early stage life science investor and company builder focused on breakthrough technologies for treating age-related disease.
Before Apollo, James worked with McKinsey and Company in New York, where he focused on building biotech companies launching new drugs and pharma companies looking to acquire promising ones.
During his PhD studies, James cofounded and ran Genotyp, the first biotech company to be funded through Kickstarter.com. As a National Science Foundation GRFP Fellow he earned his doctorate by inventing new ways of statistically analyzing relationships between stem cells and their environments.
What fascinates you about the TEDx stage and format?
Day to day we focus on small tasks. Make sure I’ve responded to those emails; attend these meetings; plan this project. Even on a bigger scale we are doing small things on the scale of our culture and economy: part of a team building one new medicine, creating one new app, helping one small group of people. TED/TEDx allows us to peer past the actions of people who are taking steps forward to make a real difference in the world and get a look at their minds. What motivates them? What inspires them? How do the small pieces they’re working on today combine into a bigger, grander picture and what does that mean to them?
What kind of New Understanding do you propose or think the world needs?
We have the technology to effect the largest paradigm shift in medicine since vaccines. Right now we wait for people to get sick with cancer or Alzheimer’s Disease and develop medicines to try to make them better. I want to spend my life building medicines that can keep people from getting these diseases in the first place. The science is ready, but the way we think about medicines in healthcare will have to change.
Which is your favourite TED talk?
I loved David Sinclair’s TED talk at TEDxSydney about „A cure for aging?“ His compassion as a scientist and also as a parent really came through.
What can we look forward to in your TEDxStuttgart talk?
I want to reframe the way that we think about healthcare today, look at what’s wrong with it, share some cutting edge science about the prevention of disease, and lay out a roadmap for getting to these new medicines.
Do you have a claim, a statement, or a quote you’d like to be associated with?
„I’m tired of asking the question ‚what do we do when a loved one gets sick?‘, I want to start asking ‚what shall we do when they don’t?'“