Fountain Therapeutics

Discover & develop treatments for aging-associated diseases

Founded by faculty from Stanford, University of Southern California and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Fountain Therapeutics is an early-stage, well-funded drug discovery startup located in South San Francisco. Fountain is taking a multidisciplinary approach to discovering treatments for aging-associated diseases by combining aging biology and deep learning.


Fountain Therapeutics is actively seeking Computational Biologist, Full Stack Software Engineer, and Assay Development Scientist to join their team through our programs.

Apply More about the roles More about the program


Building the Fountain of Youth

Aging-related diseases account for ~80% of all direct healthcare costs in the US. The company believes that therapeutics targeting or reversing age and its associated damage will be a powerful and productive way to treat age-related diseases in our near future.

Aging is known to be controlled by biological mechanisms that can be slowed or even reversed, and recent advances make it possible to target aging therapeutically. Based on this science, Fountain is using deep learning to reveal the underlying cellular features and patterns of aging, and then identify drugs to reverse them.

Fountain Therapeutics' Product & Vision

Fountain takes a data driven approach to tackle aging-targeted drug discovery. First, Fountain built a database which is a collection of images and associated data on animal cells of different ages. This database assists understanding of how cells change over the lifespan of animals. With this database, Fountain develops a deep learning system that looks at the cell pictures and measures age automatically. Mice live about three years, and the AI system can measure age to within a couple of weeks based on images of cells.

Then Fountain identifies compounds that can potentially modify the age of cells, and tests new potential drugs with the data to see how they help reverse aging. The next step is to administer the drugs to animal models which model various aspects of age related diseases. The animal models will tell what is the effect of the drugs on aging associated diseases.

Currently, the deep learning system is making significant progress with over 95% accuracy, and Fountain is expecting to have the results from the first animal tests back on the initial candidates at the end of the year. Fountain's vision is to develop treatments for diseases of aging by targeting aging itself, and expand health span.

Founders & Founding Story

Tom Rando, a senior faculty member at Stanford founded the company building on his decades of experience in the aging biology space. He was joined by two cofounders: Joe Rodgers and Tom Cheung. Tom and his cofounders are all experts in aging biology.

In the beginning, the founders were interested in the concept of distinguishing cell age by their appearances. For example, given cells from a young animal and cells from an old animal, people can tell that they're different by looking in a microscope. Then a question raised - can neural networks be trained to identify them as well? A neural network would allow that age to be measured or predicted more objectively, quantitatively and at scale.

The founders brought John to the company as the first employee and CEO. John has a PhD in biology from Princeton and then did his postdoc fellowship at Harvard. Previously, John helped start a biotech company that developed two drugs that are still being tested in the clinic. He went into investment banking and venture capital, and even spent some time as a winemaker before returning to biotech. The strong motive and ability of Fountain to treat aging attracted him to join the team.

Team Members

John is the CEO. He has a PhD in molecular biology from Princeton University and did his Postdoc at Harvard University and previously helped discover two drugs that are being tested in the clinic. Prior to joining Fountain, he did investment banking and venture capital. His multidisciplinary background with both biology and finance plays a key role as the CEO of Fountain.

Joe, one of the cofounders, is also Fountain's director of biology. He left his tenure track faculty position at University of Southern California to join the team. Joe has his PhD from Johns Hopkins and did a postdoc at Harvard and Stanford.

Ryan and Fernando are computational biologists. Fernando studied at physics at Princeton and Stanford, and recieved his biology PhD from University of California, San Diego. Ryan is finishing his PhD in information theory at UC Berkeley and previously was at the University of Chicago studying physics.

Jessica and Lincoln are cell biologists at Fountain. Jessica studied at California Polytechnic State University and Stanford University with founder Tom Rando. Lincoln is from the University of Newcastle in Australia, and then did PhD in the Merck Research Lab.

Company Culture - Curiosity & Creativity

Fountain is a discovery based company and has a smart team. Everyone is an experimenter - people are there to build something completely novel. The team is not only able to identify problems, but also solve them. In order to achieve that, everyone needs to be both self-directed and motivated.

There is no strict role definition, and everyone is curious about what other people do. People ask questions at company meetings and ask other people how they do their work. People understand how their own work exists in the big environment, and it's up to them to define their own roles. The company is fully integrated and multidisciplinary.

Open Roles - Computational Biologist

Fountain Therapeutics is looking for a Computational Biologist to join the team. Here is the job description.

This role will report directly to Joe who is Cofounder and Director of Biology. Main job responsibilities is to design, build, optimize and implement tools for acquisition, processing and analysis of high-content screening data.

Ideal candidate has PhD in computational biology or relevant fields and 1-3 years of industry experience after PhD. Candidates will need skills in machine learning, coding and cell biology. Preference is given to experience in big data processing. In addition, ideal candidate is self-directed, and is able to look for and fix problems and is highly intellectually curious.

Open Roles - Software Engineer

Fountain Therapeutics is looking for a software engineer to join their team. Here is the job description.

Main job responsibilities are to work with the research teams (Cell Biologists, computational biologists, data scientists and machine learning engineers) to design, build, optimize, maintain tools and infrastructure for data acquisition, processing, and analysis.

Ideal candidate has strong background in database and expertise in Python coding. Preference to experience working in multidisciplinary teams.

Open Roles - Assay Development Scientist

Fountain Therapeutics is looking for an Assay Development Scientist to join their team.

This role will report directly to Joe, Cofounder and Director of Biology. Main responsibility is to design assays with primary mammalian cells for high-throughput, high-content screening.

Ideal candidate has PhD in relevant fields, and at least 3 years of industry experience. Experience with high-throughput screening and high-content screening is preferred.

Interview Process

Step 1 - Initial Chat: a one-on-one Zoom video call with the hiring manager.

Step 2 - Technical Screening: For engineers, a 30 minutes video call with the hiring manager and two other colleagues. For scientists, a 30 minutes presentation about a project or a topic they worked on, followed by a Q&A session.

Step 3 - Onsite Interview: Lasting ~ 4 hours. Candidate will meet the whole team including the founders.


Q: What is the company's mission and what are your most important cultural values?

A: Fountain's mission is to discover and develop treatments for aging-associated diseases. Our most important cultural values are curiosity and creativity.

Q: What are typical work hours at Fountain Therapeutics?

A: We're very flexible. Things are schedule based and there are some work in the lab that needs to be highly scheduled, but beyond that, we're very flexible on work hours.

Q: What is your remote work policy?

A: There are things in the lab that you actually have to be there. Other than that, we are very open, and our computational people do a lot of work from home.

Q: What is your vacation policy?

A: Unlimited PTO policy.

Q: How many meetings do you have?

A: One regular all hands meeting per week.