The Genomics Revolution: Investing in CRISPR

Published on
7 March, 2018
20 minutes
Asset class

The Genomics Revolution: Investing in CRISPR

Featuring Cathie Wood

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.

Published on
7 March, 2018
20 minutes
Asset class


  • MH

    Michael H.

    25 8 2018 01:12

    5       1

    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.

  • RC

    Roslyn C.

    1 4 2018 19:03

    1       0

    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 3 2018 17:47

    3       0

    Excellent interview. would love to hear more from Cathie. this type of cutting edge info is extremely interesting. Well done.

  • cs

    claire s.

    13 3 2018 23:16

    4       0

    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!

  • JH

    John H.

    13 3 2018 20:22

    3       2

    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.

  • JC

    John C.

    12 3 2018 08:30

    2       0

    Excellent video - top notch. Thanks RV!

  • ML

    Michael L.

    12 3 2018 00:56

    1       1

    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 3 2018 18:18

    16       0

    For those who might be interested, details on her actively managed ETF here:

  • NZ

    Nicolas Z.

    9 3 2018 20:19

    0       0

    Awesome, thanks.

  • MC

    Michael C.

    9 3 2018 09:13

    0       0

    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.

  • RH

    Rob H.

    9 3 2018 05:17

    3       0

    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.

  • GH

    Gregory H.

    8 3 2018 20:24

    5       0

    Have not commented in awhile, but that was AWESOME, from a 40,000 foot perspective.

  • PD

    Peter D.

    8 3 2018 19:45

    4       0

    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 3 2018 16:05

    2       0

    More than worth the price of admission!

  • CG

    Chase G.

    8 3 2018 08:21

    29       0

    It's nice when companies and tickers are discussed in some of these vids. thx

  • CD

    Christine D.

    8 3 2018 07:06

    2       0

    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 3 2018 05:46

    7       0

    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 3 2018 04:42

    16       0

    I'm learning as much from the comments here as I am from the videos. Fantastic audience.

  • JW

    Jonathan W.

    8 3 2018 03:00

    2       3

    There are major ethical issues with this technology. I’m surprised that wasn’t covered.

  • JC

    Joe C.

    8 3 2018 02:56

    12       0

    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 3 2018 00:42

    2       0


  • RD

    Ryan D.

    7 3 2018 22:22

    3       0

    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.

  • ss

    scott s.

    7 3 2018 21:28

    8       0

    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.

  • ss

    scott s.

    7 3 2018 21:11

    8       0

    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.

  • JS

    Jim S.

    7 3 2018 19:33

    7       0

    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...

  • GH

    Gary H.

    7 3 2018 15:17

    10       0

    More videos like this please! excellent

  • EF

    E F.

    7 3 2018 14:58

    3       0

    could use a button to turn off the soundtrack

  • RM

    Richard M.

    7 3 2018 14:53

    26       0

    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!

  • KC

    Klendathu C.

    7 3 2018 14:44

    3       1

    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.

  • LK

    Lyle K.

    7 3 2018 14:35

    4       0

    Very clear and logical case for CRISPR tech.The 3D animation RV has been using in their videos has been a good addition.

  • AG

    Amir G.

    7 3 2018 13:52

    16       17

    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.

  • PU

    Peter U.

    7 3 2018 13:30

    6       0

    Very very good!

  • EM

    Emma M.

    7 3 2018 12:49

    13       0

    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: