Genomics and Medicine: transformative therapies are coming but diagnostic breakthroughs will lead the way
Ten years after the start of the Human Genome Project we have learned a lot about the links between genetics and disease but few direct cures have emerged. The biotech Company Human Genome Sciences(HGSI), an early player in genome discovery has spent over $2B in R&D since inception but only recently filed for approval of their lupus drug Benlysta. The stock soared from $2 last year to $26+ today. The models for drug development are being transformed as companies seek more targeted therapies and biomarkers that can provide better diagnosis and predict disease outcomes.An article in the Sunday 6/13/10 New York Times highlights the complexity of utilizing genetic information to bring new drugs to the market:
Last month we wrote about the trends in consumer genetics and several firms that have taken an aggressive approcah toward marketing their services even though the FDA guidelines are still in a gray area. Genome Web (www.genomeweb.com) summarizes the issue as many firms including some tools companies have received letters from the FDA seeking information on their marketing practices and technical policies:
A recent lab mix-up at the Company “23 and Me” adds fuel to the Regulatory fire.
The Rayno Life Science Portfolio has several stocks that are positioned with technology and products in the Genomics market particularly since clinical testing will be an early beneficiary. Genomics tools such as sequencers and DNA microarrays are already in an explosive growth phase.
Top picks in tools and diagnostics are :
Celera (CRA) recently added at $7, Illumina (ILMN), Qiagen (QGEN), and Sequenom (SQNM).