Insights from Genomics Investors Panelists

3 May

By Jessica Yang, Investor Research Analyst, LSN

During RESI on MaRS – as part of Toronto Health Innovation Week – we invited five panelists from renowned investment groups focusing on genomics to share their insights. How do they assess the genomics-related areas of investment?

Moderated by Ihor Boszko, Vice President, Business Development, Ontario Genomics, the Genomics Investor Panelists were:

Here are some takeaway points from the panel discussion:

Tools, platforms, and technologies
Q: What do you see as exciting opportunities on the platforms/tools side of genomics? Is it in the decentralization of sequencing? Other genomics technologies?

  1. The key is to think about what kinds of applications and markets these companies are targeting. When investors look at new sequencing platforms, they are thinking about what differentiates these new technologies from centralized sequencing – what can these platforms do that centralized sequencing cannot? For innovative genomics companies, they must identify their target markets and specific applications they want to address in the decentralized models.
  2. From different angles, all points to the same direction – the guiding principle of making investments in the healthcare arena is looking for unique and differentiated technologies that address unmet needs. The other is costs, anything expanding access while lowering the cost speaks to investor’s interests. For example, platform technologies that make things cheaper, better, or faster, making it practical in clinical settings – this is what the investors are looking for.

Direct-to-consumer in Genomics

Q: What do you think about direct-to-consumer products in Genomics?

  1. More and more direct-to-consumer products come out on the market, and it’s getting easier for everyone to do it. However, genetics and genomics are complicated. In the current healthcare system, most people aren’t trained to order or interpret the results. The challenge is that training and sophistication will lag behind the technology for computers.

Some of these direct-to-consumer tasks are negatively impacting their reputation as it relates to quality. One of the ethics dilemmas around direct-to-consumer products is that people don’t understand the terms and conditions, and some of that is companies selling consumer data,

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