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Wall Street’s $600-Billion Bet On Cheating Death

Cheating Death

Most people want to live long. Sure, popular press would have you believe otherwise,  but only because people erroneously equate an extended life with an extended period of frailty and suffering. Once continued health is stipulated into the picture, people’s attitudes change dramatically—such as this New York Times survey that found only 20 percent choose an 80-year ceiling, while a good 42 percent opt for an unlimited lifespan aka immortality. There’s a reason why mankind has been obsessed with discovering the fountain of youth, long life and even immortality from pretty much since the dawn of civilization. After all, living things are mostly designed to survive as long as possible to pass on their genes to their progeny.

Of course most people aspire to accomplish a lot more than simply leave their genetical footprint on the planet, and many feel the global life expectancy of 71.5 years too brief a period within which to achieve all their dreams.

Luckily, at no time has the quest for longevity been as promising as now, and no, this is not a misguided, manic desperation to endlessly extend life through sleights of hand or pseudosciences.  

Thanks to recent major advances in aging research and regenerative medicine, Wall Street is convinced there’s big money to be made over the next decade by companies working hard to delay death.

Analysts at Bank of America and Merrill Lynch say companies such as gene-sequencing company, Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN) and high-tech player Alphabet, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and biotech company, Novartis AG are right at the cusp of major breakthroughs that will usher in an unprecedented increase to the quality and length of human lifespans and spur a $600-billion industry by 2025.

With a market currently valued at $110 billion, that calls for a healthy 33 percent compound growth over the next six years.

Cheating death

Analysts Felix Tran and Haim Israel say innovations in in genome science, big data and "ammortality", as well as wearable technology and products in the wellness industry, could soon increase average human lifespan by 50 percent and prolong it well beyond 100 years.

"Medical knowledge will double every 73 days by 2020 vs. every 3.5 (years) in 2010, and genomic sequencing costs have fallen 99.999% since 2003. This has enabled a new frontier in precision medicine to further extend life expectancy, heralding a 'techmanity' (technology meets humanity) revolution, " they wrote in a research note.

Extending human life to new bounds could increasingly become a compelling way to make money in public equity markets. The analysts have identified five key sub-themes that will drive the long-life revolution—Big Data, Genomics, Ammortality, Future Food and Moonshot Medicine—and the companies best positioned to enjoy the rich pickings.

Genome

Genomics is a branch of molecular biology that deals with the study and mapping of genomes.  According to BofA, the $41-billion industry (2025) will provide the next generation of gene-editing technologies that will facilitate advances in disease prevention and treatment.

Related: Warren Buffett Is Betting Big On Energy Stocks

The analysts recommend Illumina, Danaher Corp.(NYSE:DHR) and Agilent Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:A) with Illumina, in particular, getting an extra vote of confidence for its role in the creation of molecular tests, advanced disease research and drug development.

Big Data

The rapid growth of AI combined with a rapidly expanding body of healthcare data will help researchers analyze pathology quickly and more effectively. Improvements in the field have potential to lower related costs and facilitate precision medicine.

The experts see Big Data becoming a $36-billion industry by 2025 with Alphabet, Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Amazon, Inc.(NASDAQ:AMZN) becoming major players.

Ammortality

The ammortality theme is expected to be the biggest winner, exploding to  a $504 billion market by 2025. This branch of medicine will help improve health spans as well as overall betterment of human vitality thus enabling people to live relatively free of diseases longer than ever before.

Key players here include Zimmer Biomet Holdings (NYSE:ZBH) and Intuitive Surgical, Inc.(NASDAQ:ISRG).

Future Food

Future of food companies will be able to leverage agricultural gene editing and healthier lifestyles and consumption to ensure better sustainability of the human race on the planet.  Companies in the space include Dow DuPont (NYSE:DD-B) and Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NASDAQ:WW).

Moonshot Medicine

Moonshot medicine companies are those that offer revolutionary health care solutions including cures for some of humanity’s toughest diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cystic fibrosis.

Companies in the moonshot medicine industry include Illumina, Sangamo Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:SGMO), Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc.(NASDAQ:NBIX) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.(NASDAQ:VRTX).

By Alex Kimani for conil.me

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