Alumnus Jeff Kaditz’s Introduces the ‘Physical of the Future’

In 2008, Jeff Kaditz spent seven months in the hospital after being hit by a car. Not only was he not sure he would be able to walk again, but for many months, doctors could not exactly pinpoint what was wrong. Kaditz was amazed at how limited the tools were to measure our biology, and particularly to track changes in our bodies over time.

“All I wanted was a way to study what was going on in my body as a scientist,” recalled Kaditz, whose background is in high energy physics and computer science. This gave him the inkling of an idea — he wanted to find a way to fuse biology and data like never before. It would take seven more years before he put this idea into action when Kaditz founded his fifth company — Q, a health care startup that aims to modernize and personalize preventative medicine.

Since graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, Kaditz has been a tremendously successful innovator and entrepreneur, founding companies in the network security, consumer electronics, software service and consumer finance fields.

His company Affirm, started with Carnegie Mellon alumnus Manny Arias and backed by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, which offers point-of-sale microloans, was an industry-changing alternative to credit cards and is now valued at $2.9 billion.

Kaditz admits that Q is the biggest risk he has taken in his career but undoubtedly is worth it.

“It’s by far the most ambitious of the ideas I’ve had. There were limited downsides for me personally to take something that’s a huge risk but has the potential to have a huge impact on society if it’s successful.”

While the initial seed for Q grew out of his own health care experience, Kaditz says the desire to create the company was much bigger than himself. “We live in a world where Google uses millions of variables to predict what ad you’re going to click on, yet we’re trying to reduce different diseases to a single variable, like saying cholesterol tells you if you’re going to have a heart attack,” Kaditz said.

Instead, he believes the answer lies in building a multivariate snapshot of your body, chemically and structurally, over time. Many diseases are exponential processes, and to identify the stages of a disease, he says, we need a way to measure how things are changing and how fast they are changing.

This snapshot is where the Q Exam comes in. Presented as the ‘physical of the future,’ a Q Exam aggregates a person’s entire medical history, family history, lifestyle, genetics, vitals, body fluids and a full-body MRI into a shareable dashboard called the BioVault™, which Kaditz likens to Dropbox for your health. Over time, these biomarkers can help detect changes associated with cancers, cardiac, neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases, musculoskeletal issues and exposure to environmental toxins.

Currently, Q has a pilot facility in Redwood, California, and attracts both private clients and referrals from clinicians, with more locations forthcoming. Kaditz’s mission is to make Q a standard of care and, as a result, take the burden of measurement off doctors to allow them to focus on analyzing a patient’s health and empower patients to own their health data and to be able to share it with doctors anywhere in the world.

“I imagine a future where Q facilities are effectively self-driving, like a car wash for your body. You go there at some frequency determined by your doctor to get a snapshot of your body. The information is then customized based on your individual risks, uploaded and analyzed and made available in your BioVault™ to you and to your doctor,” said Kavitz.

♦ Emily Payne