MOST CREATIVE PEOPLE
Moon Express CEO Naveen Jain’s new company, Viome, wants to fight disease by studying bacteria in customers’ guts.
Until recently, serial entrepreneur Naveen Jain’s most ambitious project was Moon Express, a literal moonshot that aims to land a rocket on our cratered neighbor and use its resources to make other planets livable for humans. His newest mission feels just as profound: create a world without chronic disease. To accomplish it, he founded Viome, a bacteria-analysis company that examines the microorganisms in users’ guts and counsels them on how to keep harmful bacteria at bay. In September, the Bellevue, Washington–based company began selling its kits in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, India, and the Middle East.
Harnessing technology developed at the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico, Viome employs artificial intelligence to analyze the digestive tract and its effects on the body’s immune and metabolic systems. (Recent studies point to gut inflammation as a possible origin for neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s.) For $59 a month or $599 a year, users submit stool samples every six months and receive reports on their microbiome composition, including nutrition recommendations tailored to their bacteria. “There’s no such thing as a universal healthy diet,” Jain says. Next, Viome may seek FDA approval, which would allow the company to begin diagnosing conditions such as obesity and heart disease. “I don’t want to see anyone ever die from Alzheimer’s or cancer if we can prevent them [via diet changes],” Jain says. “My hope is that [Viome] has to eventually shut down because everyone is staying healthy.”
How He Stays Productive “I GO WHEREVER THE BIGGEST NEEDS ARE.ONE DAY I’M LASER-FOCUSED ON MOON EXPRESS. THEN I’LL FOCUS ON VIO ME FOR THREE MONTHS.”