Biotech is becoming a huge part of the tech market now and one major development is the use of genetic testing. Genetic testing was formerly very expensive and only used by research organisations, governments, and universities, but leading genetic testing platform Illumina (ILMN) has done a great job of bringing down the costs of genetic testing, and with a current stock value of $405, its 20% lower than its 52 week high.
With 90% of all genetic sequence data having been run on Illumina's machines, it is a dominant and crucial technology platform paving the way for the future of medicine. Since 2007, when Illumina introduced its first gene sequencing system, the company has brought down costs by a factor of 10,000. Illumina isn't standing still, as it hopes to cut its $600 costs per genome to $100 in the near future. If Illumina can get to that level, it will open up an era of truly personalised bio technology.
With falling costs, genomic sequencing has expanded beyond pure research environments to clinical settings, changing the way doctors treat and screen a variety of diseases, from oncology to pre-natal testing. Illumina just doubled down on cancer screening with the $8 billion acquisition of GRAIL, a "downstream" company that uses Illumina's platform to build tools for multi-cancer screening.
COVID vaccines were produced from data gleaned from Illumina's machines and its helping governments track new coronavirus variants as they pop up around the world. In the future, you can bet that there will be increased emphasis on genetic surveillance for infectious diseases and future outbreaks. That should add just one more tailwind to this critical biotech platform this decade and beyond.