Longevity Investment Ideas

by | Mar 1, 2008 | Archives

Longevity investment ideas can make us rich…and help us live longer…and better as well.

Recent messages on longevity investing ideas were kicked off when my long time friend and health care provider, Joe Spano MD, sent an email about University of Southern California and their research that extended the life span of yeast bacteria tenfold. The information suggested that the same techniques could be used on humans. The article suggests that humans could live to be 800.

If you missed the previous messages, you can see them at see http://www.garyascott.com/2008/02/08/1984.html
and http://www.garyascott.com/2008/02/14/1994.html

I asked readers for thoughts and ideas on this and thank you for sending an overwhelming response. We are working through replies in a number of messages.

This message looks at some of the longevity investing ideas that readers have shared.

The first reader offered thoughts on numerous longevity shares when he wrote:

“Greetings Gary. I’m currently in a small branch of the nanotech chemistry world working on bio-sensors for non-labeled monitoring of chemical assays. Yes, it sounds like a foreign language to me too. You asked for some possible genetic research and implementation companies for the longevity article today. Here are a few possible with Genentech being the big players: Affymetrix, Applera, Norwalk , Asper Biotech Genentech, Genetix, Incyte Corp.

“Wikipedia has a long list and includes research universities and schools, but it is not complete. Great adventures to you from a faithful reader and previous visitor to Cotacachi and your hotel of smiles.”

Another reader mention Genentech and several others when he wrote:

“Gary, A thought from a connected individual – Celgene, Genentech, Amgen would be the big players but there are tons of other biotech start-ups looking at this. Most studies seem to be done in academic settings (USC as mentioned, Mayo Clinic etc).”

The same reader then added these thoughts:

“There are so many different ways of looking at things in this science and the issue will be government control and ‘ethics’, already seen in political thoughts on stem cell research. Amgen already has a drug affected by the RAS system (mentioned in one of the articles) but there are several pathways beyond that which are much deeper inside the cell so that the boffins are only just scratching the surface. “The oncogene is the way forward in cancer it is hypothesized. Yeast is one thing and there are many things which can occur in vitro (petri dish) which do not translate in vivo (human). I would suggest that they are 20 years + away from the claims IF they translate which in my feeble brain is highly unlikely as they don’t even have a strong understanding of the human brain and its mechanisms (drugs are developed, approved and sold on hypothesis alone). “As far as an investment, I would say that any start-up biotech may look great but there are so many variables and many go broke after pouring millions into research all for no return. It may be worth rolling the dice but a lot are privately held and can be swallowed up by larger companies. Hope you understand that rather better than I do! Best regards as always.”

I do not understand this any more than the reader did…even less…and will add more to this in a moment.

Another reader does not believe that this will happen at all and wrote:

“Gary, My initial reaction to this is that the technology will be quashed. It’s like the batteries that run on sugar, or cars that run on water. Such breakthroughs always seem to mysteriously ‘vanish’ from the limelight.”

These readers provide some good points which are:

#1: There are many forms racing ahead in this bio longevity field.

#2: No one knows what breakthroughs will come from this research.

#3: No one knows when any breakthroughs will come from this research.

I have an opinion to add.

I believe that breakthroughs will come. Some people will become immensely rich.

Despite all the problems that longevity brings many people want it!

Yet how does one invest in bio longevity ideas? What is any one of these bio companies worth? How can we simple minded folk tell?

For the record, I’ll miss this one.

I focus too much on investing in value and what I know. Values are too hard for me to determine when the types of breakthroughs are so unknown.

Investors who do well in this type of field are a special breed. Speculators who can do well in what I call “gambling shares.”

Alongside longevity research shares are penny shares and medical shares.

Good speculators have nerves of steel and a philosophic approach that allows them to lose on nine out of ten of their investments. Yet the profits on the tenth are huge!

Speculators who work well with gambling shares can live with volatility.
Take our Danish health portfolio as an example. We create and track a number of multi currency portfolios each year for educational purposes.

This year one of the portfolios was composed entirely of Danish pharmaceutical companies. The portfolio began in November with $100,000 invested.

Last week, three months later, that portfolio was barely worth $20,000!

This portfolio lost 80% in the three months due in part to the nature of gambling shares.

For example one of the health shares in that portfolio is a Danish company, Alk-Albello.

This is a strong company but its share price dropped 35% in one day.

The reason for the drop was because a grass allergy medicine called Grazax that Alk-Albello is developing had little effect, according to FDA.

One intelligent way to invest in gambling companies is to look for drops like this. If the company has a strong business beyond its research, such as Grazax, bad news can often create an overreaction and profits can be made when the stock recovers.

The shares may not always recover quickly though.

In the case of Alk-Albello the share price dropped from 750 kroner in November to 600 in December…then down to 550 where it stands today.

On the other hand when there is a little good news, share prices can jump upwards suddenly as well.

Take Genentec, mentioned earlier by readers, as an example.

Business week reported this week.

“Shares of Genentech Inc. jumped Monday following Friday’s announcement that the company’s best-selling drug, Avastin, received Food and Drug Administration approval as a breast cancer treatment. The stock gained $6.36, or 8.9 percent, to close at $77.96. Shares have traded between $65.35 and $86.04 over the last 52 weeks.”

This jump came in a very dour market despite problems with the good news as Business Week also reported:

“The approval comes despite an FDA advisory panel narrowly recommending against the new use. Wall Street, though, applauded the approval, as it had been counting on breast cancer therapy to continue driving Avastin sales and the company’s profit.”

Investors can, do and will make fortunes with bio longevity ideas, if they understand how a field is evolving…have a willingness to take risk…the ability to take many small losses for the sake of one big win… enjoy good sense of value… the understanding of diversification and knowledge of limiting risk plus a speculator’s nerves of steel.

Until next message, may your nerves not need to be that strong!


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