Leo Grady, the former CEO of Paige, has launched a new health tech startup called Jona, focusing on the potential of the microbiome to revolutionize healthcare. Jona provides an at-home microbiome profiling kit, which uses advanced AI to analyze an individual’s gut microbiome. This analysis delivers personalized insights, aiming to improve understanding and management of various health conditions, including autoimmune diseases, obesity, metabolic health, and even neurological disorders like Parkinson’s Disease.
Grady, who has a background in developing FDA-approved AI applications for various medical fields, including radiology, cardiology, and pathology, saw a unique opportunity to apply his expertise in healthcare AI to the complex world of the microbiome. His inspiration partly came from personal experiences, as several of his family members with chronic conditions like Crohn’s, colitis, and celiac disease received disappointing results from existing microbiome tests.
Jona’s approach is to make the latest scientific knowledge on the gut microbiome accessible and actionable for both consumers and healthcare providers. The company’s microbiome kit, priced at $385, is marketed primarily through concierge medicine, functional medicine, integrative medicine, and holistic medicine channels, as well as directly to consumers.
The startup has secured $5 million in funding from Breyer Capital and Meridian Street Capital to continue developing its product. Jona’s technology includes a proprietary large language model (LLM) that can interpret an individual’s gut microbiome and summarize relevant scientific literature. This model generates a personalized interactive report, offering recommendations on diet and lifestyle modifications based on the analysis.
Grady envisions Jona playing a significant role in creating new diagnostics and therapeutic pathways for chronic diseases, potentially influencing how processed foods are developed and improving overall health outcomes. He aims to build what he calls the “MRI of the microbiome,” leveraging AI to make sense of the vast and complex data and literature associated with the microbiome.
Jona’s launch comes at a time when the microbiome therapeutics space is still emerging in the U.S., with only a few microbiome-based therapies approved by the FDA. The company’s focus on leveraging AI for personalized health recommendations represents a significant step forward in the field of microbiome medicine.