a16z Podcast: When (and How) Biology Becomes Engineering

Hypothesis, test, revise — that’s science. Engineering, however, doesn’t quite go that way: You have parts you know and understand (like legos), and then you use those parts to design and build something (like bridges). But the key is that when science — time-consuming, unpredictable, slow, expensive — becomes more like engineering — faster, more methodical/repeatable, cheaper — you can do new things… or do them in better ways. This means engineering disciplines like mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and materials science can carry over to biology.

But the question is HOW does this happen, and how can entrepreneurs apply principles from one discipline to another? How does it affect a healthcare startup’s go to market, and how might a shift like this affect the healthcare industry as a whole? Vijay Pande and Jorge Conde (general partners on our bio fund) reflect on all this and more in this hallway-style conversation episode of the a16z Podcast, which was originally recorded as a video.