The Genomics Revolution: Investing in CRISPR

Published on
March 7th, 2018
20 minutes

The Genomics Revolution: Investing in CRISPR

Discoveries ·
Featuring Cathie Wood

Published on: March 7th, 2018 • Duration: 20 minutes

More than a decade has passed since the first human genome was mapped. Since then, costs have plunged and major efficiencies have been achieved. Cathie Wood, founder and CEO of Ark Invest, tells us about investment opportunities in CRISPR and CAR-T technology, the major drivers of the genomics revolution. Filmed on February 20th, 2018.


  • RD
    Ryan D.
    27 November 2019 @ 19:46
    There have been some recent advances in this space. Would love an update!
  • MH
    Michael H.
    25 August 2018 @ 01:12
    I thought this video was interesting, and I'm thankful Real Vision published it. That said, it's always wise to process lots of information about new industries, and that's likely especially true in this case. In February 2018, and then again in August 2018, Ms. Wood garnered a lot of attention for her analysis claiming TSLA should be a $4,000/share stock. I recently read through her firm's TSLA analysis, and while that addresses an entirely different story, the quality of that work made me feel like a fool that I was so quick to accept her as an authority on any industry, let alone one as complex as genomics.
    • MH
      Michael H.
      25 August 2018 @ 01:44
      In August 2018, Ms. Wood also offered this insane explanation for the 2000 crash that speaks to her fitness as a financial commentator: "While some investors wonder why the bubble popped so abruptly on March 10, 2000, I recall two precursors. First, in late December 1999, the US and UK revised interim guidelines for patenting genes, forcing applicants to provide use cases for the genes under consideration. Then, before the comment period ended in March 2000, both countries signed a statement urging that raw data from the Human Genome Project be made available for free to scientists, an unexpected development given the $2.7 billion in costs necessary to sequence the first whole human genome. Adding to those controversies, in January 2000 a private citizen filed a privacy suit against DoubleClick, an online advertising agency now owned by Alphabet [GOOGL], on behalf of the general public in California. In my view, that one-two punch against genomics and the internet turned “more buyers than sellers” into “more sellers than buyers”, particularly for growth stocks, which collapsed."
    • MP
      Matthew P.
      1 December 2018 @ 16:51
      Thanks for this information michael
    • JK
      Jay K.
      16 September 2019 @ 22:01
      I always wonder about Tesla. If they develop level 4 autonomous vehicle would the current valuation be cheap or expensive? I think neither the bulls nor the bears really know. Anyone who claims to know is just guessing.
  • JH
    John H.
    13 March 2018 @ 20:22
    I don't know anything about this space. But, I have a friend with a terrifyingly good track record at a huge HF where he specializes in biotechs and he thinks the three companies mentioned here are zeros/shorts. Just saying, there are smart people on the other side of this trade. Be careful.
    • BK
      Brian K.
      7 April 2018 @ 21:44
      zeros because they are 3 bad companies or CRISPR is flawed/wont work in humans?
  • RC
    Roslyn C.
    1 April 2018 @ 19:03
    Ms Wood articulated the CRISPR and CAR-T technologies eloquently. The three companies she alluded to in her presentation (Intellia, Editas, Chrispr Therapeutics) are predominately in early or pre-clinical development. Although the data indicate efficacy in rodents, the space will become much more interesting when we see some phase 1 efficacy AND safety data in humans. Safety and tolerability of these new treatments will be critical. Remember, what we see in in-vivo/in vitro/animal models does not always translate in the clinic.
  • JM
    Justin M.
    19 March 2018 @ 17:47
    Excellent interview. would love to hear more from Cathie. this type of cutting edge info is extremely interesting. Well done.
  • cs
    claire s.
    13 March 2018 @ 23:16
    Wow fascinating story. I've heard a lot about Car-T and gene editing but did not fully understand the story. This is easy to digest and learn about the space. fantastic!
  • ss
    scott s.
    7 March 2018 @ 21:11
    Interesting talk. This is not, per se, a bear thesis however there are important limitations to the effect of CAR-T and CRISPR in the setting of cancer. CAR-T may prove a breakthrough only for hematological (blood) cancers. If one considers solid tumors and views successful therapy as that able to convey additional years to decades of survival, the hope of CAR-T may (and from my perspective is likely to) falter in the setting of the most common malignancies of man (colon, lung, prostate, breast). It is worth noting that targeted therapies, such as Gleevec, have seen great success, as defined above, only in cancers of the blood but not, despite great effort, in the major malignancies of man. Early trials suggest that CAR-T will indeed falter in solid tumors because many are able to 'hide' the surface molecules that CAR-T uses to recognize tumors as such. In addition, the possibility remains that improvements in antibody-drug conjugates (ADC) and other 'tumor-targeting' therapies such as phospholipid-drug conjugates may supplant CAR-T in blood cancers and in any other cancers for which CAR-T proves successful. The costs of developing and producing ADC therapies are orders of magnitude lower than that for CAR-T and there are few, if any, compelling biological reasons to believe that CAR-T therapies have intrinsic advantages over ADCs. So, for longer time-horizons, there are reasons to exercise caution. With regard to CRISPR, it too may falter in solid tumors because it is now clear that once formed, many solid tumors do not require the mutations from which they arose. So, at least in the setting of the most common forms of cancer, and when given as monotherapy or in conjunction with current standard of care treatments, both CAR-T and CRISPR will face an uphill battle. These data however, do not address the massive potential that CRISPR holds for the treatment of non-neoplastic genetic disorders.
    • JC
      Joe C.
      8 March 2018 @ 02:28
      I'd be very interested to read primary sources for many of these claims (hiding of surface molecules for CAR-T therapies being more pronounced than those same classes of molecules being targeted in ADC or antibody-based immunotherapies, as well as mature solid tumors NOT requiring mutations) as they fly in the face of much of what I've learned... and I've worked in and/or studied Oncology for many years.
    • ss
      scott s.
      8 March 2018 @ 03:33
      Nat Commun. 2017 Oct 23;8(1):1090, Nature. 2014 Oct 30;514(7524):628-32, Cell. 2014 Jul 3;158(1):185-197, Cell Death Dis. 2015 Jul 16;6:e182 Mutations that initiate solid tumors, in particular Ras mutations, can become dispensable later. This can be shown genetically and pharmacologically. What is observed is immediate and nearly radiographically complete regression, as is often the case in the setting of EGFR inhibitors, followed by aggressive rebound and enhanced therapeutic resistance. There will be a survival benefit, but a marginal one if the goal is years to decades of life. As for CAR-T, receptor downregulation, whether by enhanced rates of endocytosis, protein turnover, or suppression of biosynthesis, is reasonably well described and very likely to be contributing to the lack of efficacy of CAR-T in lung and pancreatic cancers in early trials. The oncogene addiction model may be true for some cancers but, unfortunately, not for a large proportion of those involving KRAS mutations...which account for about 40% of all cancers in people.
    • ss
      scott s.
      8 March 2018 @ 03:38
      ADCs would be as susceptible to receptor down-regulation as CAR-T. The problem here is that for those cancers like leukemia/lymphoma where CAR-T has good efficacy, it is hard to come up with a good reason that similar efficacy rates could not be obtained via ADC. Most (and maybe even all) of the monoclonal antibody therapies that have been developed for leukemia/lymphoma have not been conjugates.
    • CB
      13 March 2018 @ 18:25
      I would prefer to see Joe interview Scott as it would likely prove a lot more detailed and informative. Well done, both of you.
  • JC
    John C.
    12 March 2018 @ 08:30
    Excellent video - top notch. Thanks RV!
  • ML
    Michael L.
    12 March 2018 @ 00:56
    nice interview but I disagree with the end where she talks about short time horizons. Most biotechs gets priced on peak sales which won't be achieved until 5-10yrs from now. Investors in these early stage pipeline companies are not short term at all.
  • AG
    Abhimanyu G.
    10 March 2018 @ 18:18
    For those who might be interested, details on her actively managed ETF here:
    • PC
      Peter C.
      11 March 2018 @ 03:14
      Thanks for sharing
  • NZ
    Nicolas Z.
    9 March 2018 @ 20:19
    Awesome, thanks.
  • MC
    Michael C.
    9 March 2018 @ 09:13
    Fascinating presentation and lots to digest about the opportunities. You can understand why many peoples eyes glaze over when things get complicated but the developments are truly exciting and will be life changing.
  • ss
    scott s.
    7 March 2018 @ 21:28
    With additional regard to the limitations of CRISPR, and this could be considered more of a bear-thesis, the system relies on proteins that are not found in the human body. As a result, a potential limitation to CRISPR is that the immune system will recognize the presence of these therapeutic proteins and kill the very cells that are being 'cured' by the therapy. There are reasons to think that this would be a surmountable problem however, the issue remains relatively unaddressed. The rejection of the CRISPR-Cas9 system by the immune system is not a new idea and stock prices have fluctuated in response to this issue whenever it has received attention. Most recently, a study has been published suggesting that the human immune system comes with a built-in sensor that can recognize and respond to the CRISPR-Cas9 system, without the need to develop a T cell-based memory response. This would be particularly worrisome. Overall, though these may end up being 'time-horizon' ones which are ultimately solve-able, the hit could be the order of years to a decade.
    • CR
      Chris R.
      9 March 2018 @ 08:33
      Thank you for sharing.
  • RH
    Rob H.
    9 March 2018 @ 05:17
    I Really liked the video, I just wish the timing was a little better, crsp is up over 200% in the last 3 months. I would feel like the sucker buying bitcoin at 20K if I made an investment now.
  • AG
    Amir G.
    7 March 2018 @ 13:52
    Great interview. Quite educational and informative. But I do not understand why RV is always too late in the game in airing and sharing these interesting ideas; I checked all the companies mentioned in this video and they’re trading at their All Time Highs by a huge Margin. As an investor, do I want to invest in these companies at this point, these should have been aired 2-3 months ago before the huge jump and it would have been much more meaningful.
    • JD
      Jonnathan D.
      7 March 2018 @ 15:11
      There's a meaningful difference between price and value...
    • GH
      Gary H.
      7 March 2018 @ 15:17
      She views prices as "scraps" still super cheap
    • EF
      Eric F.
      7 March 2018 @ 17:54
      Amir, get a grip. Too late in the game? We’re talking about a multi-decade potential trend and you’re bitching that you should have got these ‘tips’ a few months ago? You’re kidding me. First, almost everything is trading at sky valuations at the moment, in case you haven’t noticed. Second, great tips well worth following up on but do your due diligence, which is more than watching a sub 20 minute video. I.e. make an informed decision.
    • IO
      Igor O.
      7 March 2018 @ 21:04
      People just unbelievable. Bitching about lack of trade ideas when they get one, bitching about price not being right.
    • EM
      Emma M.
      8 March 2018 @ 03:01
      Amir: Presumably you were among the bunch complaining to street analysts who came out with new buy-ratings on AMZN in December 2008, after the stock climbed 18% in under a month, that they'd missed the trade? Now, would you feel foolish saying the same thing today, skipping on the trade at $50 to see AMZN at $1545 today? The point ... unless your time horizon is very short, that 18% bid was Child's play relative to the long-run growth opportunity. So the question you should be asking after watching a video like this, noting that it wasn't "first released" here, should go something like this: “has the recent price appreciation been so significant, relative to the long-run growth potential, to render the opportunity no good anymore?” If you're trying to time a long-run seculra opportunity with absolute precision, good luck. Especially in nascent stage markets like this. After seeing this video, in my view, the first question you should ask yourself before delving into ever more research) is whether the trade can continue to run or whether you believe the latest noise has brought the opportunity to a close? Are we looking long-term or short-term alpha potential? Because, as AMZN so beautifully illustrates, none of us have a real clue of what the future may look like in the next ten years. And a long-run, secular growth story against today’s macro backdrop, characterized by falling growth, bad demographics, declining money velocity and persistent secular deflation can be a major brightspot with huge asymmetric returns.  You want to be long those positions that aren't FULLY appreciated by the market yet. They may be known, perhaps even had a recent run, but is this reflective of the long-term potential? That's the question, and if you conclude that it fully prices the long-run growth outlook, then don't make any trades. Or, perhaps you do the research and conclude that the market has, as it often does, overestimated the potential associated with the sector, while discounting the risks. These are great opportunities to make contrarian bets.
    • ss
      sid s.
      8 March 2018 @ 21:56
      not too late to buy.
  • GH
    Gregory H.
    8 March 2018 @ 20:24
    Have not commented in awhile, but that was AWESOME, from a 40,000 foot perspective.
  • PD
    Peter D.
    8 March 2018 @ 19:45
    To what extent will the progress in understanding of epigenetics disrupt and make obsolete these ideas and methodologies underlying this investment thesis? - Over what timescale would you expect, that the growing depth of understanding of the human system and role of natural approaches & remedies (as now supported by a growing body of scientific research), may render worthless many of the companies that follow these approaches and even more traditional existing practices?
  • SS
    Sam S.
    8 March 2018 @ 16:05
    More than worth the price of admission!
  • JL
    J L.
    7 March 2018 @ 14:58
    could use a button to turn off the soundtrack
    • md
      mike d.
      8 March 2018 @ 12:48
      or up in many
  • CG
    Chase G.
    8 March 2018 @ 08:21
    It's nice when companies and tickers are discussed in some of these vids. thx
  • CD
    Christine D.
    8 March 2018 @ 07:06
    Great video and recommendations. If you are interested in this space it is also worth checking out Cynata Therapeutics who figures out and patented a method to manufacture pluripotent stem cells at scale and has just signed an MOU with Cellularity Inc.
  • JM
    John M.
    8 March 2018 @ 05:46
    Very interesting. Enjoyed it but given the complexity of this topic I wonder if this subject would have been better presented as an interview with dialog / follow up questions? While we are on the subject of innovation & science I would still like to see an interview(s) on robotics & AI.
  • JH
    Jake H.
    8 March 2018 @ 04:42
    I'm learning as much from the comments here as I am from the videos. Fantastic audience.
  • JW
    Jonathan W.
    8 March 2018 @ 03:00
    There are major ethical issues with this technology. I’m surprised that wasn’t covered.
  • JC
    Joe C.
    8 March 2018 @ 02:56
    Haven't gotten this excited about an RV video in a while. A point about the title card claim "Immunotherapy technology known as CAR-T" is that it's an oversimplification worth distinguishing. There are actually multiple types of immunotherapies, specifically targeted antibodies (read: foreign agents) that bind to either cancer cells or immune cells (see Keytruda, Opdivo, and lesser known Tecentriq which I worked on for a few years). While technically "immunotherapy" in the sense that they activate a person's own immune system against cancer, and a drug class garnering significant public attention having just recently come to market, I have a thesis that we're going to see a lot more autoimmune adverse reactions in patient populations using these drugs, over multiyear time horizons that were not evident in the clinical trial timeframe. It makes sense that temporarily or permanently supercharging the immune system could have unintended autoimmune "-itis" consequences for a patient. Not to mention injecting a foreign agent, even if it is a high-tech monoclonal antibody, is not exactly a far cry from bathing the body in a chemotherapy chemical or targeted drug. However, CAR-T (specifically Adoptive Cell Transfer), as I understand it, is a far more expensive and difficult process of extracting a patient's T cells, "training" them to detect specific cancer cells, and reinserting them into the body. This is much more cumbersome but may end up being far more efficacious and safe than "immunotherapies" (read: drugs) currently on the market. They may end up redefining the term immunotherapy entirely (I'm speculating here). Thus for me, an important early catalyst for CAR-T adoption might be emerging widespread complications with this new generation of drugs (Keytruda, Opdivo, Tecentriq, et al) leading the market to naturally seek safer alternatives—having been "primed" with Generation I of Immunotherapy. In my limited opinion, we're still living in the "before" times where Pharma approaches cancer treatment as they always have any treatment: Design a molecule, put it in a person's blood stream (previously orally, currently intravenously), and hope for the best. "Immunotherapy" is just a new, sexy marketing term for this same, tired approach. CAR-T may be the first real innovation in the immunotherapy space worthy of its name.
  • CH
    Colin H.
    8 March 2018 @ 00:42
  • RD
    Ryan D.
    7 March 2018 @ 22:22
    Nice Video. Revolutionary tech or unmitigated disaster. Taleb and the 'precautionary principle' come to mind. China will probably lead this race as they have much less in the way of ethics to worry about. Interesting Times.
  • JS
    Jim S.
    7 March 2018 @ 19:33
    Very interesting space, but would love to get specific color on what would make her worried (at least about names she mentions). Announcement of certain technological failures/limitations? Competitive challenges in key areas? Price action below 2017 lows? Based on price action after video releases like these, it is clear that RV has a following willing to put money into ideas presented. In the likely case that some are trading based solely on the videos' (understandably persuasive) info, it seems prudent to require a good faith outline of each bear case as well...
  • RM
    Richard M.
    7 March 2018 @ 14:53
    Wow, fantastic presentation! Cathie is super knowledgeable in this space, would love to have her back on for an hour long (at least) presentation on CRISPR technology alone. Genomics is definitely the wave of the future in health care (and one of the ways to reduce the ever expanding costs in that area). Great interview!
    • EF
      Eric F.
      7 March 2018 @ 17:50
      Yup, agreed, well worth listening to an hour with this person.
  • KO
    Kieran O.
    7 March 2018 @ 14:44
    Cathie did a tremendous job getting ahead of the trend here. But I disagree with a lot here, especially on the science. Everyone interested in investing in biotech should read this morning's speech by FDA's Scott Gottlieb. This is a landmark speech that underlies the FDA's efforts to drive innovation in the biotech space.
    • JD
      Jonnathan D.
      7 March 2018 @ 15:20
      What part of the science? The FDA is promoting price competition which doesn't necessarily imply that innovation will increase. The focus of the speech is on cost reductions for "biologics" which are crudely though of as "pills". As an investor, wouldn't I want higher barriers to entry in the industry I'm already invested in??
  • GH
    Gary H.
    7 March 2018 @ 15:17
    More videos like this please! excellent
  • LK
    Lyle K.
    7 March 2018 @ 14:35
    Very clear and logical case for CRISPR tech.The 3D animation RV has been using in their videos has been a good addition.
  • PU
    Peter U.
    7 March 2018 @ 13:30
    Very very good!
  • EM
    Emma M.
    7 March 2018 @ 12:49
    When we refer to the first, complete genome sequence of an individual in existence, we are referring to Craig Venter, yes? Craig Venter is my hero...well...second to Kyle Bass.  Venter's accomplishments and voracious effort to prove the bureaucrats wrong after choosing to leave his key role in developing The Human Genome Project, a government-led effort to sequence the human genome, is yet another compelling, illustrative case study into the destructive forces at play when the government attempts to achieve anything of real value. Frustrated by senseless decision-making by bureaucrats with little involvement in the project that continued to stymie progress, in the late 1990s Venter abandoned the initiative and left it to the existing team, on a mission to get it done more quickly and efficiently on his own. And so he did. Ultimately, Venter will now go down in the history books as the first individual, ever, to accomplish the amazing feat of sequencing an entire human genome. When Venter's entire genome was published in PLOS Biology on September 4, 2007, it stood in a contextual vacuum - the first and only complete genome sequence of an individual existence. Let's face it, governments don't do well in the face of adversity. They're quick to falter when competition requires hard work. And they like to promise things they can never deliver. So, why would anyone expect this to be different in the field of genomics? Let's call a spade a spade: when governments start meddling in things that require innovation, competition, ambition, speed, cost efficiency, drive (personal drive and that of the collective), proper incentives, and even hard work (oh no!), abject failure is not uncommon. Today? Venter's Human Longevity (HLI) is now creating synthetic species; something one might expect out of Frankenstein. Without government funding. You won't get the government to fund that kind of work. For any genomics weirdos out there such as myself, here are a couple articles that discuss Venter's recent progress, it is breathtaking: