Bill Gates has known investments in the gene-editing industry.
Genetic Engineering is the field of science that manipulates DNA in order to change the gene expression. This technology is revolutionary as gene-editing and gene therapy could help people suffering from genetic disorders, as well as making humans more healthy. Applications include alleviating autoimmune disease, treatment of neurodegenerative disease, and other genetic disorders.
The field is expanding quickly, with more and more companies investing heavily into genetic engineering, especially the CRISPR/Cas9 System. CRISPR technology is considered the foremost precision gene editing tool.
Here are the top companies in the field:
Agilent Technologies (A-N)
This company is a spin-off from Hewlett-Packard, which broke away in 1999. At the time, their IPO was the largest in history in Silicon Valley. They announced on June 18, 2019 the opening of a production facility in Colorado to produce nucleic acid-based therapeutics.
Re-engineered itself to focus on its test measurement and instrument business. Very broad product line in that space. Moved manufacturing offshore. Really a play on R&D rather than the economy. If you want exposure nanotechnology, optics, Intermaxtic biotechnology, etc. this company has products going into all those areas.
Biogen IDEC Inc. (BIIB-Q)
A biotechnology company that focuses on treatments for neurodegenerative, and autoimmune diseases. They recently experienced a sell-off following news that they shut down a previously promising drug for Alzheimer’s. They acquired Nightstar Therapeutics this year, who focus on adeno-associated virus based gene-therapies.
The sector has done poorly, and the summer is seasonality. A lot of this has to do with the US election campaign with candidates offering cheap/free healthcare. BIIB fell below support at $250. He is avoiding the entire space.
Charles River Labs Intl (CRL-N)
A preclinical and clinical laboratory company for pharmaceutical and biotech firms. They are also a contractor that offers research and development outsourcing services. They offer a genetically engineered animal models and services, as well as CRISPR/Cas9 System research.
It has had a great run and they consistently beat earnings expectations. He would be modestly concerned about their value metrics -- you are paying up right now. It has a 40 times PE ratio. He would wait until earnings are released.
Novartis AG (NVS-N)
One of the largest pharmaceutical companies based out of Switzerland. They are working on a drug called Kymriah that has the ability to reprogram a patient’s own immune cells.
He sold it recently. They sold their eye-care division and are back to generic drugs, a lousy business for all companies. Invest elsewhere.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (REGN-Q)
A biotechnology company that has multiple key drugs, including Eylea for macular degeneration. They have one of the largest human DNA sequencing project that will help with drug discovery and development.
A higher-risk/return play. This biotech has several core products generating good free cash flow. They’re partnering with Sanofi on Dupixent to treatment severe atopic dermatitis and potentially severe asthma. They also have another drug to treat specific eye diseases. REGN boasts various late-stage drug trials. Regeneron is a new Top Pick for us, driven by…
A french pharmaceutical company out of Paris that is the fifth largest in sales. They recently announced an over one billion dollar research deal with Denali Therapeutics for treatments for neurological and systemic inflammatory diseases.
A French drug company that is starting to run. Th patent cliff has occurred and they have been busy bringing in new products. They also have a very profitable consumer health business. Yield 3.44% (Analysts’ price target is $54.17)
Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO-N)
A biotechnology and pharmaceutical lab equipment company. They are paying down debt and have made some acquisitions that will grow well over the next couple of years.
It's done very well, despite a hiccup in Q3 earnings. TMO is in the news because it makes lab equipment, and trades at 35x earnings. It has a steady growth rate, but they need a strong catalyst to grow at that high multiple.
United Therapeutics Corp. (UTHR-Q)
An American biotechnology company. Their primary drug therapy is for pulmonary disease. They acquired SteadyMed Therapeutics, a competitor with whom they were locked in a legal dispute with, last year.
United Therapeutic (UTHR-Q) or Allergan (AGN-N)? This is a tough one because they are 2 very different companies. Allergan is a much larger company and more broadly-based, however, this one is a very fine company. Its primary drug therapy is dealing with pulmonary disease. The risk of owning this is that one drug represents a…
Illumina Inc. (ILMN-Q)
One of the only companies that can do high volume DNA sequencing. They have brought down the cost of genetic sequencing to retail levels. They are becoming more available outside of research for commercial use in clinics.
(A Top Pick Sep 12/19, Up 6%) The sector is interesting, though he sold Illumina, because the holding got too big. They supply testing machines for mines, which creates recurring revenues. Stick with it.
Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD-Q)
An American biopharmaceutical company that is doing research on treating cancer using DNA targets to control it. They also released great results for a HIV treatment.
It is less of a diversified company than big pharma. He is not big on investment in this sector. It is a tough place to be. It would be better at a lower price.
Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY-N)
They got hit due to problems with the Celegene acquisition. Some shareholders like it, others don’t. They have an innovative pipeline and their drugs using genetic technology has performed well, as well as the biotech that will come under their wing from Celegene.
They are focused on the drug side of health care. There is a lot pressure on costs and from a political perspective as well. The company has had a great run as of late, but drugs can be very volatile. He generally favors the equipment and insurance sectors in health care.
Roche Holding (RHHBY-OTC)
A Swiss multinational healthcare company. They acquired a biotech firm that does research and development for all their future products. They have some promising drugs for multiple sclerosis and cancer treatment.
(A Top Pick October 31/17 Up 10%) A steady business that pays a good dividend. You should make 10% a year return. There is a good pipeline of drug projects yet to come. Yield 3.5%
CRISPR Therapeutics AG (CRSP-Q)
One of the smaller companies developing transformative gene medications. Their gene-editing tool is used to splice DNA that has the potential of curing diseases such as Huntington’s Chorea and cancer.
A small company that develops transformative gene medications. They are a small fish in a big sea. A recent transaction with a pharma company allows them to scale out their product, but it is still early. (Analysts’ price target is $58.05)