Human Pangenome a step further for Personalised medicine
Genomic medicine (the basis of precision medicine) is about to become more affordable, accessible and probably more efficacious.
The Human Pangenome, a US$ 30m project funded by the US National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) set to finish by mid-2024 together with DeepMind’s AlphaFold tool, which uses AI to predict the shape of nearly every known protein, will bring affordable personalised medicine a large step closer.
- The Human Pangenome Project was started in 2019, by Eichler and his colleagues in Bethesda, Maryland. The researchers planned to build a human ‘pangenome’ which should reflect all human genetic variations.
- The Human Pangenome Project will deliver reference-quality genome sequencing using the full genetic profiles of about 350 people from different backgrounds. To date, at least 70 of the 350 planned detailed human genomes have been completed.
- The resulting data is intended to be shared freely. According to Ting Wang at the Washington University School of Medicine “to account for diversity is to better serve humanity.” This has very positive implications for innovation and so value creation in our view.
- The pangenome concept emerged for the first time during research into of Streptococcus agalactiae, or group B streptococcus. Notably, this bacterium causes deadly infections in new born children.
Healthcare is shifting irreversibly from a so-called ‘conventional approach’ to precision medicine – where the focus is on identifying the most effective ‘bespoke’ treatment for patients based on genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.
Genomics plays a key role in the transition to precision medicine to the extent that without the discipline, precision medicine would have remained a paper concept.
Global genomics markets growth forecasts
Fortune Business Insights published projections suggesting the market for global genomics market will reach US$ 94.65bn by 2028E, up from US$ 27.81bn estimated in 2021.
ACF Equity Research projected that the global precision medicine market, which includes genomics, will reach a value over US$ 200bn by 2030E.
Demand drivers for the global genomics market
Sequencing – Genomic sequencing is a critical tool for precision medicine. One of the most attractive markets for precision medicine applications is the prevention, diagnostics, and treatment of diseases related to the oncology spectrum. New cases of cancer worldwide are expected by some researchers to rise to 30.2m by 2040E, up from 19.2m in 2020A.
Pandemic present – Genomics also played a key role in combating the C19 pandemic. Through the use of genomics software and database tools such as the COG-UK-Mutation Explorer, data about changes to the genome sequence of the coronavirus is improving understanding of infection spread (part of epidemiology) and its impact on the human genome (COG-UK, 2022).
Pandemic future – The information contained in the genomes of pathogen agents is becoming critical to the rapid development of treatments and prevention strategies. We only expect pandemic infection incidents to rise. In our assessment, this rise is driven by global travel, increasing global temperatures enabling range expansion of pathogen agents and rising population density through urbanisation.
Efficiency – The C19 pandemic has strengthened the case for genomics and precision medicine as the best pathway to deliver future healthcare solutions at pace.
We suspect investors interest in healthcare R&D was reawakened by the C-19 pandemic after around a decade in the doldrums.
The rising number of M&A deals and the multiples paid for junior healthcare companies combined with the share price responses to positive trials, R&D and distribution deals news evidences this renewed interest and support from investors.
Stocks of interest
Genomics technologies are delivering continuous advancements and innovations. Changes in investor sentiment are encouraging and enabling new players to enter the market, for example, Graphite Bio (NasdaqGM: $GRPH) in Sep 2020.
Genomics companies we consider of interest include Agilent Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: $A), QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE: $QGEN), Myriad Genetics, Inc. (NasdaqGS: MYGN), Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: $BIO) and Oxford Nanopore Technologies Limited (LSE: $ONT).
Exhibit 1 – Peer group of genomics companies
Sources: ACF Equity Research Graphics; Refinitiv; Exchange rate: (Source: XE.com) GBP vs USD: 1.2248