Tech Giants Bet Big on Biotech

In 2015, Amazon celebrated 20 years and those two decades have changed the way we shop from same day delivery to getting your favorite movies at the touch of a button. We’ve all heard that our 20s are the best years of your life. If there is any truth to that adage, Amazon is sure to blow our minds in the next decade!

When it started, the company began as an online bookstore. Now you can purchase that book you’ve wanted to read along with a comfy blanket to curl under and even some tea and snacks to munch on while you read it. For the more technologically inclined, you can even download the book onto an Amazon Kindle or Fire tablet.

Now the luxuries of Amazon purchasing are extending to scientific supplies. That’s right, science nerds rejoice because now you can stock up on scientific equipment through Amazon Lab! Better yet certain items are Prime™ eligible, meaning free two-day shipping is available for those pipette tips, Western blotting film, and even microscopes. Offerings go beyond the typical equipment to include biological assay kits, such as DNA extraction and protein detection kits.

As part of Amazon Business, certain products will also be available to registered businesses at discounted prices. Although Amazon Lab is still relatively new, the list of brands and suppliers is quite notable and is sure to grow.

Selling scientific equipment and supplies isn’t the company’s only foray into the life sciences. Amazon Web Services has been offering cloud-based infrastructure for large-scale computing projects since 2009. Several biotech powerhouses use these services, including Pfizer, Novartis, and Illumina.

More recently, the company’s founder, Jeff Bezos, has begun to invest in biotech startups. His first investment, in 2014, was in Juno Therapeutics, which is focused on reprogramming a patient’s own T cells as a cancer therapy. Bezos’ newest investment is in Illumina’s new startup GRAIL that is tackling the challenge of developing a blood-based cancer screening test for early detection.

Bezos is not the only tech guru to begin supporting life science and healthcare startups. Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, has also invested in GRAIL. According to Bloomberg Business, in 2015, Google Ventures is looking to invest up to $425 million in life science startups helping people live healthier, longer lives. In addition, Google has two life science based spin-offs, Calico, focused on aging associated diseases, and Verily, focused on proactive healthcare technologies. Even start-up superstar Uber is getting into the game by delivering flu shots.

With consumer brands jumping onto the life sciences bandwagon, the field is going through a major shift. We can expect to see more companies wanting a stake a claim in the life sciences business. It will be exciting to see what developments come out of the new marketplace.