Some readers may be familiar with the man pictured above, Jeff Huber. Once the Senior Vice President of Google X, the division responsible for moonshots like Project Loon, he reported directly to Astro Teller, the head honcho. He left that position a while ago and has been finding other avenues for his considerable skills. It would seem that he has decided to devote the majority of his time and talent to one such avenue, health firm Grail. Grail is developing a blood test that can detect cancer extremely early, even in patients showing no symptoms at all. Naturally, this would be a revolution in health care as it pertains to cancer treatment and save millions, if not billions, of lives. Huber plans to usher in that revolution himself as the CEO of Grail.
Grail, formed by gene sequencing specialist firm Illumina, Inc., has received tons of funding from many different sources. The San Francisco medical research outfit has been funded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Sutter Hill ventures, to name a few. Huber plans to head Grail as it executes a three year plan centered on cancer detection and treatment. Once the new blood test is approved for wide use, the plan is to begin with individuals who are genetically predisposed to cancer because of their family history or other traits, and eventually make it a normal part of annual physical exams for everybody.
Huber plans to bring his expertise with data sets to the genetic sequencing that Grail is developing to look for cancer. This move comes after Huber's wife, Laura, lost an 18 month battle with cancer. "I had already been ramping up on the biology and science behind this and then there was this very poignant reminder of the implications that there has to be a better way to do this," Huber said of his work. Illumina CEO Jay Flatley was pleased to have Huber on board, saying, "Jeff helped Google map the world, and he'll help us map the molecular biology of the microscopic cancer DNA that might be circulating in our blood,".