The Potential Of AI-Based Drug Discovery & The Biotech

The Potential Of AI-Based Drug Discovery & The Biotech

March 09, 2021

The story of mRNA – How a once-dismissed idea became a leading technology in the Covid vaccine race.

The liquid that many hope could help end the Covid-19 pandemic is stored in a nondescript metal tank in a manufacturing complex owned by Pfizer, one of the world’s biggest drug companies.

There is nothing remarkable about the container, which could fit in a walk-in closet, except that its contents could end up in the world’s first authorized Covid-19 vaccine.

Pfizer, a 171-year-old Fortune 500 powerhouse, has made a billion-dollar bet on that dream. So has a brash, young rival just 23 miles away in Cambridge, Mass. Moderna, a 10-year-old biotech company with billions in market valuation but no approved products, is racing forward with a vaccine of its own.

Its new sprawling drug-making facility nearby is hiring workers at a fast clip in the hopes of making history — and a lot of money.

The Messenger RNA (mRNA) Technology

As the vaccines are being widely distributed, we are hopeful that this pandemic is in its late innings. One thing we are certain about is that this is only the early innings with messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.

Currently, two of the three FDA-approved vaccines utilize mRNA technology. And with over 520 ongoing clinical trials testing mRNA, we may soon have a whole new arsenal of vaccines against other deadly infectious diseases.

But this miraculous technology is much bigger than vaccines… You’ll soon see mRNA starting to get the credit for all kinds of other new breakthroughs… Everything from cutting-edge cancer reatments to cures for rare genetic diseases.

It’s still early days with mRNA technology, so there will be more opportunities to replicate those types of gains. We expect things could cool off for a while before the next round of breakthroughs, which means…

There is still time to get on the next technology-powered rocket ride higher. That could come any day now. But we’re not going to chase yesterday’s returns. We’d rather invest in some other disruptive technologies that are on the verge of their own big breakthroughs…

And the huge returns that promise to go along with it! We’ve only seen the tip of the healthcare technology iceberg…

There are three more key technologies whose potential value are still being grossly underestimated.

Similar to how unappreciated mRNA vaccines were back in 2019, these technologies are poised to deliver the next round of life-changing investment returns.

And the time to learn about them—and scooping up the most-promising stocks—is now.

Like this one…


DNA Sequencing

DNA is the instruction manual for life. The more you know about your DNA, the more modern medicine will be able to keep you healthy. Mapping the first human genome (sequencing the three billion DNA base pairs that make up who we are) cost about $1 billion and took over a decade to complete.

That was back in 2003. Now it costs less than $1,000… and that price tag is shrinking. DNA sequencing will soon be so cheap that it will start showing up in routine doctor checkups.

DNA sequencing has already come a long way over the last few decades. It’s 99.9% cheaper, it only takes an hour or less to complete, and the quality of the data is vastly improved.

Producing these DNA sequences is a multibillion-dollar market that will only get bigger from here.

But the biggest opportunity will come from how this data is used. This data will completely transform our approach to medicine.

In the old world, medicine was used to control disease and manage its symptoms. Utilizing DNA data will lead to personalized medicines that can completely cure or even prevent disease altogether.

As one example of just how powerful this trend will be, consider multi-cancer screening based on DNA risk-factors.

Artificial Intelligence

A single human genome sequence generates between 300 gigabytes to 1 terabyte of data. Analyzing that much data requires a lot of computing power. And that need will only grow as hundreds of millions more people have their DNA sequenced.

And that is just one source of data. Technology has vastly improved our understanding of the human body, but it has also led to an explosion of medical data.

Stanford Medicine estimated that more than 2.3 zettabytes of medical data were generated around the globe last year alone. To put that in context, a digital audio recording of all words ever spoken by humans would be about 42 zettabytes.

So, we’re talking about an exorbitant amount of medical data.

This is exactly the type of problem that artificial intelligence (AI) was born to solve.

AI and machine-learning algorithms are able to gain a deeper understanding about the growing universe of medical data. It’s completely transforming the industry from drug discovery to designing precision medicines.

In dollar terms, this could add $9 trillion to the market caps of biotech companies by 2024.

AI-based drug discovery has the potential to fundamentally change the biotech business model and incentivize a more personalized medicine approach.


Gene Therapies

DNA sequencing and AI will help biotechs diagnose and develop therapies for rare diseases that were not being addressed by old-world biopharma due to high development costs and low return on investment.

There are more than 6,000 known genetic diseases. And scientists discover about 300 more every year.

The most promising ways to treat these diseases is with gene therapies that can replace or edit defective genes. One recently uncovered gene-editing technology could potentially correct 89% of genetic diseases.

Currently, there are only 10 FDA-approved gene therapies. But at the end of 2020, there were 712 active gene therapy clinical trials underway.

If you adjust for the typical clinical trial fail rate, then about 170 new gene therapies could be approved over the next decade.

This Will Bring Us Even More Ways to Invest

The convergence of these three powerful technologies is taking place right now, and it’s causing a paradigm shift in our approach to medicine.

The world is going to look completely different after the next five to 10 years of technological advancement. Biotech will be one of the strongest forces behind this change.

And it’s not just our health that will benefit. Biotech has the potential to completely transform the financial future of savvy people who invest ahead of these trends.