Opportunities Emerge From Rapid Cost Declines in Gene Editing and Synthesis

The rapid cost declines associated with gene editing and gene synthesis are turbo-charging scientific creativity, enabling the testing of hypotheses that, until now, have been cost-prohibitive, ARK Invest wrote in a recent newsletter.

Scientists at Nationwide Children’s Hospital recently published a proof-of-concept study demonstrating that gene therapies might deliver cancer immunotherapies more effectively than the current standard of care, Simon Barnett, ARK analyst, wrote.

“While gene therapies typically fix or replace faulty DNA, Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s DNA instructions encoded a protein-based immunotherapy for leukemia called Blincyto that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) already had approved,” Barnett wrote. “Using novel DNA instruction-coding, the researchers enabled mouse cells to manufacture Blincyto continuously. Bundled into the therapy were DNA instructions for an ON/OFF switch that controlled the production of Blincyto.”

The impact has the potential to be profound should this early research enter later stage clinical trials. Like Blincyto, many drugs require continuous infusions, keeping patients attached to IVs in the hospital or at home. Nationwide’s research suggests that a single dose of gene therapy could induce the continuous production of medicine inside the body for up to 36 weeks, according to Barnett. 

Although this technique could face some of the delivery and targeting drawbacks associated with other gene therapies, Nationwide’s breakthrough research could impact the administration of simpler, protein-based drugs like Keytruda or Opdivo, Barnett wrote.

Investors looking for exposure to DNA sequencing technology, gene editing, CRISPR, therapeutics, agricultural biology, and molecular diagnostics should consider the ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (ARKG).

Companies within the actively managed equity strategy are focused on and are expected to substantially benefit from extending and enhancing the quality of human and other life by incorporating technological and scientific developments and advancements in genomics into their businesses, according to ARK’s website.

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