Healthcare is constantly changing and growing. Specifically, the biotech sector is booming with innovation. Here are my top biotech sub-sectors to watch and a few specific technology-areas that peak my interest.
- Anti-aging, Life Extension, Organ Regeneration
Old age is the number one killer around the world. Although we’ve poured boat-loads of money and resources investigating major death-causing diseases, there has been little research on how to combat the aging process until now. Over the past few years ultra-rich entrepreneurs likes Peter Thiel and Jeff Bezos have realized that in order to continue to make a difference in this world, you have to stay alive; but while alive you have to remain healthy.
Recently, companies have emerged looking at different parts of the aging process to make drugs, therapeutics, cosmetics, or personalized treatments to keep us healthy internally and externally. It was estimated that this entire aging market reached $250B in 2016 and is estimated to reach $331.4B by 2021.
It’s true that 70% of American adults want to live to 100 years old but their physical and mental function deteriorates around age 80. Unfortunately, currently treatments are unproven and unregulated, with little to no scientific evidence (i.e. nutraceuticals, hormone therapies, heavy-metal removal, etc.).
Although the market has some shortcomings, I believe there is a larger opportunity when it comes to rejuvenating the body through innovative techniques backed by decades of scientific evidence called parabiosis. Parabiosis connects an older organism to a younger organism and uses the blood circulation to reverse the aging process in the older organism. What this process could also do is not just reverse the phenotype of your body or organs, but alter the genotype of the new cells to prevent diseases like Alzheimer, diabetes, etc.
This concept sounds like something out of a sci-fi flick and it actually works. Many animal studies have been done starting in the 1950s but have recently stopped due to the overall perception of the concept. Don’t be surprised if you see the sci-fi world come to life really soon.
- Burn, Wound Care
In the US alone, the burn/wound sector is a $40 billion market. Products range from collagen based products, skin grafts, to biologic treatments which is composed of cell isolation of the patients own skin cells.
Most products on the market can be extremely painful, slow healing, increased scarring and can lead to further complications for the patient.
New treatments are emerging to combat these problem areas. Companies are experimenting with topical bandages and low-cost biologic materials to reduce scarring and healing time. But the process of removing, cleaning, and reapplying the treatment is still there.
Innovative technologies are emerging that utilize the patient’s own stem cells to gently apply to the burn or wound to let the body heal itself. Studies have shown that these processes reduce scarring, decrease healing time, and don’t expose new wounds that would create complications for the future.
These new innovative technologies can transform the burn and wound industry and translate across markets for cosmetic applications and other skin abnormalities (i.e. vitiligo, acne scaring, etc.).
According to reports, the obesity market reached $70.8 billion in 2015 and is expected to rise to $163.2 billion by 2022. This is concerning considering that more than half the United States are overweight or obese.
Common treatments are gastric bypass surgery, weight loss supplements, or living a proactive lifestyle by working out and developing better eating habits. Unfortunately, the latter doesn’t happen quite as often and gastric bypass is expensive and some people do not qualify as candidates.
Many companies are developing innovative treatments and devices to combat obesity. Technologies like digestive balloons or space filler devices are being introduced as a non-chemical, non-invasive option to take up space in your stomach to prevent overeating.
What peaks my interest is this concept about using ‘brown fat’ to promote calorie burn in your body. An increasing number of scientists and biotech companies are trying to develop ways to multiply the number of brown fat cells in the body or somehow boost their activity. By producing brown fat outside the body will make it possible to develop drugs and other potential treatments that increase brown activity to combat obesity.
What other healthcare sectors do you follow?
What industry sectors should I review next?
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