From Early Technology to a Megatrend which will Shape Our Lives
Biotechnology trace back to 1600 with the fermentation technology primarily used to make alcohol and later food production. Biotechnology is one of the major megatrends which will address many of our global problems such as an aging society, infectious diseases and climate change. Biotechnology will have the potential to transform outcome of many diseases and will play an increasingly important role in our every life.
Big Data and Biology will ensure Medical Breakthrough over Decades
The mapping of the human genome through the Human Genome Project from 1990 to 2003 has given us one of the most powerful and fundamental data sets for human health. It has led to a deep understanding of human biology which will bring innovations to market over the next decades.
The mapping of the human genome has led to a deep understanding of human biology
We have genetic screenings for several diseases, vaccines can hinder development of diseases, early diagnosis can detect diseases before it gets non-curable and a vast range of diseases are now curable. Gene-editing technologies continue to advance in precision and ease of use allowing families to treat and ultimately cure hundreds of inheritable genetic diseases. This megatrend is driven by the development of various biotechnologies, genome sequencing and artificial intelligence.
Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment to Cure Diseases
Screening and vaccines will hinder development of diseases and will be increasingly important for our public health. Different screening programs for cervix and breast cancer among others have been able to detect and prevent development of serious disease development. Additional screening programs will be increasingly important for patient health and society. Vaccines like the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine has significantly reduced the number of cervix cancer among women.
The pandemic of COVID-19 underscores the importance of prevention of diseases for public health. The history of polio in 1916 has several similarities to today’s pandemic. “As Mark Twain is said to have said, history does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes, and if that’s so, the two epidemics, 104 year apart, are forming a tidy couplet.”. Lock down, social distancing and hope for vaccines. It took generations but an early attempt of vaccine in 1935 gave hope but was not successful. Another 20 years was needed to successfully develop a vaccine for polio. Today medical innovation has given a range of vaccines for different diseases and we will most likely succeed in a vaccine for COVID-19 and it will not take generations – because we are fortunate to have technology on our side and highly innovative companies which will bring new innovations to market.
Early diagnosis and the ability to understand the cause of the disease will enable directed and effective treatment which will not only cause deadly disease to be chronic but will also be able to cure diseases completely. New innovative drugs will come from new treatment modalities like antibodies, cell therapy and gene therapy and will be an increasingly portion of new drugs approved by regulatory authorities.
Innovate to Survive
There is an ever-increasing demand for new diagnostics and treatment methods for patients and society. There is a structural trend where we live longer, we get diseases because of our way of living and we demand more treatment. Societies must cope with increasing healthcare costs. Innovation is to bring better and more efficient therapy and products to markets for patients and society.
Areas where we see increasing focus in our investment universe are several orphan and genetic diseases, oncology and neurological diseases.
No Pain No Gain
When thinking of the biotech sector many think of a high-risk sector. We acknowledge that the sector in general has higher risk than many other sectors, but the sector consists of both large solid companies and early phase companies with larger development risk. By being exposed to the biotechnology sector by a fund you reduce the risk you have by an individual stock exposure and at the same time have exposure to the sector and its potential for return. We know that biotechnology is more volatile than the general market and general healthcare. Hence, we must acknowledge and tolerate that the sector fluctuates but over time the history has shown that it outperforms. Another characteristic is that it typically holds up well during downturns. History has shown that it pays off over time and we believe we will see this in the coming years as well.
DNB Biotechnology fund invests in highly innovative companies which will bring new innovative products to market and society and want to take part in the growth and megatrend we see within biotechnology and healthcare. Our investments range from gene therapy companies, oncology companies, diagnostics companies and companies which combine technology and health which we believe has the potential to give solid return to our shareholders over time.
 Time: What the History of Polio Can Teach Us About COVID-19. 5th May 2020
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