Genetics Update: Q1 in Review

Genetics Investing
Genetics Investing

With Q1 2018 officially in the books, here the Investing News Network takes a look back at what some of the biggest genetics news was so far this year.

The genetics industry may soon be able to change your DNA with a goal of accumulating mass genetic libraries to identify the mutations for (possibly) every disease

That’s thanks to Illumina’s sequencing technology (NASDAQ:ILMN) and CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP) technology designed to make direct changes genomic DNA, to name a few. In short, there’s a lot for investors to be excited about.

Genetics investors should more or less stay proactive on keeping up with the latest genetics technology to know what sounds too good to be true and what technology developments may gain the biggest returns. The genetics testing market alone is expected to grow from $5.054 billion in 2017 to $11.856 billion by 2026, increasing by 9.97 percent every year, according to a report by InkWood research.

The first quarter of this year has been eventful for genetics investing with collaboration agreements, IPOs and additional offering issuance.

With Q1 in the books and Q2 in focus, the Investing News Network (INN) is taking a look back at how the first quarter went for the genetics investing space and what may be in store for the industry in the second quarter.

Genetics Q1 2018: Prominent collaborations

Collaborations generally provide positive results for each company involved by giving validation to their respective pipelines and technology. The first quarter saw many collaborations between genetic companies and other life science sector based companies, as many companies from every sector see more potential for the industry.

For big pharma companies, in the early days of 2018 Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) began a collaboration to develop zinc finger protein gene therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—a disease which gained traction from the ice-bucket challenge back in 2014—with Sangamo (NASDAQ:SGMO).

Other big pharma companies like AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) expanded a collaboration with Myriad Genetics (NASDAQ:MYGN) for its myChoice HRD Plus to explore an analysis of how women with advanced ovarian cancer benefit from treatment with two drugs: Lynparza and Avastin.

On the TSXV, 3D Signatures (TSXV:DXD) now has collaborations with the l’Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec (University Institute of Cardiology and Pneumology of Quebec) and MDxHealth. The first is to evaluate the clinical application of 3DS’ TeloView software platform with DNA sequencing analysis in lung cancer. The MDxHealth collaboration is to evaluate the Telo-PC test in prostate cancer, also using the TeloView.

Finally on the ASX, molecular diagnostic company Genetic Technologies (ASX:GTG) said it will further collaborate with the University of Melbourne, broadening the application for the BREVAGenplus breast cancer risk assessment test—eventually to develop a new pipeline of genomic tests.

Genetics Q1 2018:IPOs and offering issuances make headlines

The life science sector altogether has seen a continuous stream of initial public offerings and offering issuances in the first quarter—and it will likely continue moving forward. The issuances give investors the opportunity learn about more companies and the companies receiving the funding can use it to push forward with clinical trials and R&D.

Homology Medicines (NASDAQ:FIXX), a genetic medicines company, released its IPO close to the end of the first quarter. The initial offering was priced at $16 per share and has already increased to $21 as of April 19. The company is focusing on curing underlying causes of rare disease through its stem cell-derived adeno-associated virus vectors system.

Another IPO, also issued at the end of March was by Genprex (NASDAQ:GNPX), which is a company developing a new approach to cancer treatments through its technology platform. Oncoprex is the company’s initial product candidate, which is an immunogene therapy for non-small cell lung cancer.

As for offering issuances, Avexis (NASDAQ:AVXS) issued one in January at a share price of $102. Then, with positive news of an acquisition by Novartis (NYSE:NVS), the share price jumped 81.57 percent on April 9 to $210.46. Law firms have already begun to announce investigations into the transaction, which includes one from RM Law.

Invitae (NYSE:NVTA) also announced the pricing of a public common stock totaling $50 million at $4.50 a share. This company has a vision of bringing genetic information into mainstream medical practise to improve the quality of healthcare globally. It plans to do this by aggregating genetic tests into a single service with a higher turnaround time, lower prices and all-around higher quality.

Beyond Q1 2018: More collaborations ahead

In the second quarter so far, additional collaborations have already been announced. Wave Life Sciences (NASDAQ:WVE) and Deep Genomics announced a collaboration to discover novel therapies for genetic neuromuscular disorders.

For top genetics company Illumina, a collaboration announcement was made with Loxo Oncology (NASDAQ:LOXO) to develop and commercialize a multi-gene panel for tumor profiling in cancer indications.

Investor takeaway

Whether through stem-cell technology, gene editing technology or genetic testing, this industry is only showing signs of continual growth for the future, while gaining trust from patients, healthcare practitioners, and governments and–in turn–investors interested in the space.

With collaboration announcements made early in the second quarter, this leaves the door open for more collaborations and M&A’s in the genetics industry.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_LifeScience for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Gabrielle Lakusta, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: 3D Signatures is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

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