Investing in Innovation: Bioinformatics

The term “quantified self” arose out of a movement to better utilize the widespread availability of personal data to better understand and monitor ourselves as individuals. Whether it be through the simple logging of food consumed or using wearables to track blood pressure and activity level, the advancing state of technology continues to make such databases much easier for individuals to gather and analyze. In healthcare, Medtronic (MDT US) and Insulet (PODD US) are two firms racing towards the development of a self-contained pancreatic system, allowing a feedback loop between the device and patient to determine daily treatment, and self-correct based on glucose levels and other continuously monitored metrics


Companies pioneering advances in biological data


The medical community's understanding of biological data is growing very rapidly. Illumina (ILMN US) is a leader in this field with a relentless focus on innovation that has quite literally changed the trajectory of the cost to sequence an individual‟s genome, bringing it closer to the mainstream. Cost remains the preeminent barrier to widespread adoption of whole genome sequencing as a core component of preventative medicine and unlocking the population-level benefits from better understanding biological data. As Illumina rolls out more efficient sequencers, invests in clinical joint ventures, and expands access to genomic data, the closer we get to better understanding disease and treatment at the genome level.


Identification of biomarkers improving healthcare treatments


Biomarkers have ushered in a paradigm shift in medical treatment. As researchers gain access to genomic information, companies have been able to better develop targeted therapies for different types of cancer, rare genetic disorders, and neurological conditions. To-date, however, advances in oncology represent one of the areas most impacted by understanding the biomarkers of various cancers more completely to enhance our treatment options. Drugs targeting certain cancer biomarkers can lead to almost curative outcomes in certain settings. Leading firms Bristol-Myers (BMY US), Merck (MRK US) and Roche (ROG SW) are transforming cancer treatment with the help of biomarkers.


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