Thursday, July 17, 2014

An Unsolicited Comment On Janet Yellen's Biotech Comments

Matthew Herper reports:

On Tuesday Janet Yellen, the chair of the Federal Reserve, made comments indicating that biotechnology stocks were oversold. Since then, the Nasdaq iShares Biotechnology Index has dropped 4%. I got the following comment via email from Robert Nelsen, a co-founder and managing director at Arch Ventures who has helped fund Illumina ILMN -1.23%, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals ALNY -3.11%, and Agios Pharmaceuticals.

Nelsen wrote:
never listen to professors about the stock market. I think ex-professor Janet Yellen should leave the stock-picking to the industry experts. Violating past precedents and criticizing specific sectors of the American economy that are fueling most of our growth is downright silly, especially in light of the amazing cures that are driving some of the biotechs. One of the things everyone that went to business school learns is  never listen to professors about the stock market.
I think it’s fair to say Bob speaks for a lot of people in biotech there.

1 comment:

  1. like she has a clue?

    Genetically Engineering Almost Anything
    By Tim De Chantand Eleanor Nelsen on Thu, 17 Jul 2014

    Today, researchers aren’t just dropping in new genes, they’re deftly adding, subtracting, and rewriting them using a series of tools that have become ever more versatile and easier to use. In the last few years, our ability to edit genomes has improved at a shockingly rapid clip. So rapid, in fact, that one of the easiest and most popular tools, known as CRISPR-Cas9, is just two years old. Researchers once spent months, even years, attempting to rewrite an organism’s DNA. Now they spend days.

    Cas9-based gene drives could be one of the most powerful technologies ever discovered by humankind. “This is one of the most exciting confluences of different theoretical approaches in science I’ve ever seen,” says Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University. “It merges population genetics, genetic engineering, molecular genetics, into an unbelievably powerful tool.”

    We’re not there yet, but we’re extraordinarily close. “Essentially, we have done all of the pieces, sometimes in the same relevant species.” says Kevin Esvelt, a postdoc at Harvard University and the wunderkind behind the new technology. “It’s just no one has put it all together.”

    It’s only a matter of time, though. The field is progressing rapidly. “We could easily have laboratory tests within the next few months and then field tests not long after that,” says George Church, a professor at Harvard University and Esvelt’s advisor. “That’s if everybody thinks it’s a good idea.”

    It’s likely not everyone will think this is a good idea. “There are clearly people who will object,” Caplan says. “I think the technique will be incredibly controversial.” Which is why Esvelt, Church, and their collaborators are publishing papers now, before the different parts of the puzzle have been assembled into a working whole.

    “If we’re going to talk about it at all in advance, rather than in the past tense,” Church says, “now is the time.”
    “Deleterious Genes”