Opto Sessions

ARK’s Ali Urman gives her outlook for the trillion-dollar biopharma space

Opto Sessions meets with ARK Invest’s genomics analyst for another insightful discussion about the future of the genomics market, which could be worth trillions of dollars in the next few years as new technologies continue to develop.

This week, Ali Urman, ARK Invest genomics analyst, returned to Opto Sessions to talk about the evolution of the genomics sector and why momentum is building in this space.


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ARKs 2022 Big Ideas report highlighted that the market cap of companies in the gene editing and gene therapy space is expected to grow from $130bn to $1.1trn by 2026. As Urman explained, despite the broader biotech selloff, company fundamentals [and] the science are really increasing”, with far-reaching benefits.

She offered the example, which ARK also discussed in a recent blog post, of how tools and advances have helped drug discovery significantly”.

If you think about tools like next-generation sequencing, artificial intelligence, CRISPR [and] other gene therapies, other gene editing technologies — those will boost the efficiency of clinical trials, and then that in turn can shorten development timelines, it can reduce failure rates, meaning that the number of clinical trials that will be needed to produce commercialised products will be lower,” she said.

And then of course, thats going to obviously lead to an increase in return on your investment, if that does come to fruition. So, how we think about it is that the convergence between and among these technologies could really increase the effectiveness of the global healthcare system. And we could add $9trn in market cap to the biopharmaceutical space during the next five years.”

“We could add $9trn in market cap to the biopharmaceutical space during the next five years” - Ali Urman

Although she describes herself as quite the bull in gene editing”, there is still a question of whether these therapies are effective and safe as one-time treatments. While there is still more to be done, Urman highlights how quickly technology is coming to clinic” — something she finds surprising and astonishing” given the expectations initially set.

The goal is ‘can we cure disease?’ And how incredible would that be,” she said. I think weve really seen some impressive data from some of these companies,” citing CRISPR Therapeutics [CRSP] and Vertex [VRTX] as key examples. And again, were early days, but you know, the further out we go, the more impressive it becomes.”

Were early in treating patients still small numbers. But we'll continue, I think, to see a real proliferation of clinical trials in the coming years,” Urman said. With this in mind, it may be a longer-term play for investors.

Maybe it's not for the faint of heart,” she said of investing in the genomics theme. But, you know, you have to give around like a five to 10 year time horizon. And you have to keep in mind that most drugs take about 10 years from ideation to commercialisation. That long-term mindset should probably be applicable for a lot of these therapies.”

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