Biotech’s biggest winners are already changing how we’ll live after the coronavirus – MarketWatch
The COVID-19 pandemic will change the global business landscape to its core. Investors are switching their attention from what was previously considered important — sectors such as real estate, tourism and hospitality — to what is truly important: human health.
The pandemic clearly will provide a tremendous boost to the biotech and bio-medicine industries, with a particular emphasis on preventive medicine. Recently, for example, two venture-funded rounds of more than $1 billion each (Arch Venture Partners and Qiming Venture Partners) were finalized. Meanwhile, several biotech companies closed sizeable funding rounds (e.g., Mabwell biotech’s recent $278.5 million Series A injection, iTeos Therapeutics’ recent $125 million Series B2 financing, Affinivax’s recent $120 million Series B round, among others).
Accordingly, expect to see a dramatic rise in the volume of investments going to healthcare in general, and preventive medicine in particular, including diagnostic and prognostic technologies. Money will also be earmarked for the detection and neutralization of diseases in advance of their pathological progression. All of this funding has one major goal: to strengthen the performance of the human immune system.
“ Promoting a healthy life in all its forms: physical; psychological and financial ”
Our frontier technology-focused consortium, Deep Knowledge Group, understands the scale and scope of the progressive healthcare and longevity industry, and of what “longevity” actually means in practice. Specifically, instead of focusing exclusively on what can be considered as core geroscience (R&D-stage therapies focused on treating the hallmarks, or root causes, of biological aging), our framework includes other relevant sectors, ranging from the biomedical to the technological and financial. In our view, the longevity industry encompasses anything promoting a healthy life in all its forms: physical; psychological and financial.
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From a biomedical perspective, one of the biggest factors is optimizing the performance of the human immune system. You cannot live long if you are not properly protected from pandemic threats. For example, supercentenarians — people who have lived at least 110 years — possess certain features fostering a strengthened immune system, thus neutralizing diseases early in their lives and enabling greater protection from microbes, bacteria and viruses.
To advance such understanding, we expect investors to prioritize the sub-sectors with the greatest potential for disruptive impact: digital health; biomarkers of longevity, and in particular, artificial intelligence for healthcare, drug discovery, preventive medicine, and longevity, which is a major priority for our longevity-focused investment fund, Longevity.Capital.
Enhanced immunity is one of the most fundamental ways to improve health outcomes in the elderly, the group most at risk for infection, pathology and death during pandemics. Anti-pandemic (immune system optimizing) strategies and approaches for maximizing healthy longevity go hand-in-hand — another reason why the current pandemic will lead to a rise in longevity-focused investment.
Health is the new wealth
COVID-19 will reshape biotech, preventive medicine, precision health and longevity efforts in substantial and largely positive ways. One of the secondary goals behind the creation of Deep Knowledge Group’s new COVID-19 MedTech Analytics IT-Platform was exactly this — obtaining a deeper and more tangible understanding of how trends in biotech investment and industry development generally will change and adapt in the wake of the current COVID pandemic.
This platform is designed to serve as a comprehensive database of the most relevant entities, technologies, and developments in the COVID-19 MedTech ecosystem — aggregating, profiling and visualizing the companies, organizations, scientists and technologies at the forefront of neutralizing the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring the health and safety of individuals and nations. The platform aims to cover all major sectors and relevant activities in the global COVID-19 MedTech landscape, from science to technology, R&D, treatment, diagnostic and vaccine development, and practical applications occurring globally, providing data on particular scientific and technological sectors and geographical regions.
The COVID-19 pandemic will bring significant investments and developments to the biotech and bio-medicine industries, as well as a shift from treatment and healthcare (which can in practice be viewed as “sick care”) towards early-stage prevention, diagnosis, and tangible, data science-driven enhancement of the immune system and extension of the healthy period of life. This trend in turn will lead to an increase in global financial growth and stability by reducing the economic burden of age-related diseases, and by neutralizing the significant risks an aging population poses to the health, stability and vitality of national economies.
Our previous assessment of the longevity industry’s growth predicted a market value of $27 trillion by 2026. Yet considering the impact that COVID-19 is making on biotech investments, we see this figure as being much larger. COVID-19 will grow the rate and size of biotech investments generally, and investments in preventive medicine, precision health and healthy longevity in particular.
Health is the new wealth. The pandemic is causing many people to realize what is truly important in life, and to view their personal health and longevity as the most valuable asset class of all.
Dmitry Kaminskiy is founder of Deep Knowledge Group and founding partner of Longevity.Capital. He is co-author of Longevity Industry 1.0: Defining the Biggest and Most Complex Industry in Human History
Kate Batz is managing partner of Longevity.Capital and director of strategy and business development at Deep Knowledge Ventures.
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