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    (Podcast) ZAGENO Co-Founder & CEO, Florian Wegener Discusses New $60 Million Financing Round

    By ZAGENO Team - 4 minutes read
     

    Today, I'm joined by the co-founder and CEO, Florian Wegener. Florian, welcome back to the podcast. 

    Thank you, Greg. I'm excited to be part of this. 

    I'm thrilled to announce that we just closed a $60 million investment round led by General Catalyst, a large, vertically integrated, nonprofit healthcare organization and all of the existing investors, including Grazia Equity and Capnamic Ventures participated in the financing.

    Today, ZAGENO is making an important announcement; I was hoping you could share some of those details. 

    Yeah, absolutely. I'm thrilled to announce that we just closed a large financing round for ZAGENO. It's a $60 million investment round that was led by General Catalyst, a large, vertically integrated, nonprofit healthcare organization and all of the existing investors, including Grazia Equity and Capnamic Ventures participated in the financing.

    For those who don't know, General Catalyst is one of the leading technology venture capital firms in North America and it is a great pleasure for us to be partnering with them. 

    And the large, vertically integrated, nonprofit healthcare organization that has invested is essentially one of the largest healthcare plans in the United States. It operates more than 40 hospitals, they have, 300,000 people employed, including close to a hundred thousand physicians and nurses.

    These people understood quickly the power of ZAGENO  and were all excited about us, helping the life science research industry and making products more affordable to people in North America and around the globe. 

     

    At the same time we're making this announcement COVID is still with us. The biotechs and the pharmaceutical companies that ZAGENO serves, I think you can say, have been extraordinarily resilient throughout the last 18/24 months but they have faced challenges specifically related to the supply chain.

    And I wanted to ask, what do you anticipate will be the priority for researchers as we go into 2022? 

    Yeah, great question. 

    There are many challenges ahead of us and one is clearly the supply chain difficulties that we are facing since a few years, that became very apparent in COVID. That is still something that will go on.

    COVID by itself also led to, several nations focusing on their own specific needs and some politicians actually focused on short-term perceived advantages for their own countries. Brexit is a good example of this. In these situations, where countries look at themselves internally, they sometimes forget that most of the innovation, most of the supply chains - in nearly all industries - across many countries need to work together to achieve breakthroughs.

    In fact, today we still face heavy supply chain issues in manufacturing, in the life science research industry. Companies like Moderna recently announced that they actually fighting these supply chain issues and informed everyone that they will not be able to deliver on the number of vaccines that they wanted to share with populations around the world.

    So, one big problem is still the supply chain issues that we're facing.

    Another one is obviously that we have to continue to vaccinate people around the globe. And actually, in the western world, there's a certain fatigue of COVID and there's a certain fatigue of isolating yourself. And it feels like people are out on the streets again, which is great but we opening other countries and, business taking off again, and people traveling around the globe will also lead to new variants of this virus. 

    And so we all in the scientific community focus on helping developing countries to vaccinate their populations. And one big hurdle here is pricing. We need to offer more affordable medications to people in developing countries. Once you have those products and once you have pricing, you still need new supply chains. 

    ...all in the scientific community focus on helping developing countries to vaccinate their populations. And one big hurdle here is pricing. We need to offer more affordable medications to people in developing countries. Once you have those products and once you have pricing, you still need new supply chains. 

    We're not used to having supply chains from Europe or the US into Africa especially cold chains at, sometimes minus 20 degrees Celsius. And this is a huge hurdle and some of the manufacturers decided now to build manufacturing sites in these regions. But still, once you leave such a building you need a truck, you need the entire supply chain and you need trained people to decide on patients being eligible for vaccination and actually you need trained personnel to do this.

    And one big tragedy that we don't speak about a lot in the COVID situation is really that a lot of other diseases out there lead to human disasters and personal tragedies without us really noticing. Tuberculosis, ZIKA, and AIDS are on the forefront. They’re actually spreading and everyone is looking at COVID and everyone is speaking about the manufacturing, the supply chain, and actually the delivery of the vaccines, but there are many other infectious diseases out there.

    There are also patients, even in the western world with renal failure, cardiac issues; even in the oncology space people are not having the same good access to healthcare that they used to have before COVID. 

    From my perspective, these are the big topics for 2022. And I really hope that all of our colleagues in the life science research space will continue to focus on fighting these diseases. 

     

    You've laid out a number of key challenges that the industry faces. And I'd like to conclude where we began in light of this new funding, 60 million what are the recommendations of ZAGENO’s board of directors on how those funds will be appropriated to help with these challenges? 

    Yeah, we at ZAGENO are now in a situation that also because of the funding and our extended services we will make a bigger impact for people. The number one topic at ZAGENO, since day one, has always been to make the scientist a champion. 

    ...because of the funding and our extended services we will make a bigger impact for people. The number one topic at ZAGENO, since day one, has always been to make the scientist a champion. 

    We already help our customers today to overcome supply chain issues. We help them to source products from sources where it's still available. We are basically offering them a menu of choices with the largest catalog in the industry - north of 35 million product SKUs.  and we help them to receive those products from more than 5,000 suppliers. We help them to search for the right product and at the end do better experiments. 

    When you bring this all together, ZAGENO is allowing for innovation in the life science research space. Ultimately, we will lower healthcare costs and make products and amazing innovations, coming off the life science research industry, available to more people.

    And that is what brings us together at ZAGENO and that is what I'm personally very proud of and thankful for the customers that work with us on the supplier side and on the end customer side in our marketplace.

     

    Florian, I appreciate you helping us all understand the context of this news a bit more. 

    My pleasure. And thank you for having me.

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