Bank of America (BoA) believes companies working on extending human life will be the next big investment bet in the upcoming decade. Techmanity is where technology and humanity meet and it’s projected to be a $600 billion market by 2025.
According to BoA Merrill Lynch analysts Felix Tran and Haim Israel, companies like genome sequencer Illumina, tech giant Alphabet, and biotech business Novartis are hovering on the brink of “bringing unprecedented increases to the quality and length of human lifespans.”
“Medical knowledge will double every 73 days by 2020 versus every 3.5 [years] in 2010, and genomic sequencing costs have fallen 99.999 percent since 2003,” Israel and Tran wrote. “This has enabled a new frontier in precision medicine to further extend life expectancy, heralding a ‘techmanity’ revolution.”
Innovation in sectors like genomic science, data analytics and life-extending technologies could make a longer life fully possible beyond 100 years, the analysts say. The investment bank announced five up-and-coming sectors to watch and stocks that represent worthy investment opportunities:
Genomics, or the study of human genetics, is the first one BoA identified. The field represents an opportunity to provide the “next generation of gene editing technology offering potentially revolutionary advances in prevention and disease treatments,” BoA said. DNA sequencing is projected to be a $41 billion industry by 2025. Companies like Illumina are working to make the process more efficient and affordable, and growth is expected to be exponential.
Artificial intelligence/analytics is another area BoA has identified as important to watch. With the advent of big data and the AI technology needed to process it, researchers can now effectively store and sift through vast amounts of health information to study pathology in new ways. Alphabet’s Verily is one such life science company dedicated to the development of new AI and machine learning tools to help scientists find answers to all their health questions.
The final three areas were future foods, immortality and moonshot medicine. Whether it is the likes of Dow DuPont who are running agricultural gene editing projects or health-tech firms like Intuitive Surgical who partnered with Apple to conduct a clinical study for patients who have undergone knee and hip replacements – the future is bright for investors who want to bet on medical tech. Moonshot medicine describes those companies – such as Samgamo and Vertex Pharma – that are working on breakthrough treatments for some of the toughest diseases out there, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Alex Zhavoronkov has made it his life’s work to push the boundaries of longevity. He has a PhD in physics and mathematics and is CEO of Insilico Medicine. The Baltimore-based start-up specializes in artificial intelligence technologies for drug discovery, biomarker detection, and aging research. Zhavoronkov made headlines in 2015 after he predicted that he would live to 150 years but he has become more conservative in his estimations in recent years.
“Previously, I had been more optimistic and careless with the predictions,” said Zhavoronkov. “While the rate of progress is close to exponential, we are still too far from seeing tangible longevity interventions where you can see it to believe it.”
While he doesn’t want to downplay the progress that’s been made, he believes it’s sensible to temper enthusiasm with realism. “The limitations come from our current understanding of technology and will not be there in the future. We need to focus on what is available today at the very cutting edge and take it to the next level.”