When it comes to biotechs, it’s easy to get hung up on drugs.
After all, drugs are the centrepiece of healthcare. They are the medicine that cures what ails us.
Or at least, that’s the intention.
However, as we all know, drugs come in many different shapes and forms. An overlooked but equally important part of the treatment process.
A certain drug taken in pill form for instance could have a dramatically different effect to a nasal spray.
This is because the chemicals involved are entering your body in a different way. Perhaps even into a different system. Which, suffice to say, can react in unique ways.
The nuance and science behind this phenomenon is known as drug delivery. Something that every pharmaceutical company has to consider nowadays.
In fact, drug delivery has become just as, if not more, important than the drugs themselves. Leading to a surge of interest in not only new drugs, but also the potential of old ones too.
On top of that, we’re also seeing a surge in innovative new methods of drug delivery. Companies that are pioneering exciting new ways to administer treatments.
One such company is a small local firm known as Vaxxas. A project that spun off of work done at the University of Queensland.
And, as of yesterday, is now a part owned by Merck & Co Inc [NYSE:MRK]. A US-based US$200 billion pharmaceutical juggernaut.
No need for a needle
Merck swooped in and pledged $18 million to Vaxxas. An investment that has secured them access to their key micro patch technology.
Here is how it works, according to Vaxxas CDO Angus Forster:
‘Vaxxas is trying to transform the delivery of vaccines by developing a needle free vaccine technology.
‘It’s a small patch containing a dense array of little microprojections, which are coated in vaccine.
‘So it improves the safety of the vaccination process, allowing less skilled users to perform vaccinations.’
Basically, instead of one big needle this patch has 5,000 very tiny needles. So tiny in fact, that you can’t see them without a microscope.
The benefit is, it makes delivering a vaccine less of a ‘jab’ and more of a slight ‘prick’. A method that makes it easier and far more tolerable for everyone involved.
Clearly it sounds like a brilliant product.
Trouble is, up until now Vaxxas has struggled to get companies to adopt it. Like many biotechs, finding the right market for their product has been tough.
With Merck now onboard through, this could be the catalyst for great things.
Indeed, these patches could even be a key part of a COVID-19 vaccine. Both companies were keeping quiet on how Merck plans to use Vaxxas’ micro patches. But we know they’ve been busy trying to find a potential vaccine.
Now, the reason I’m bringing all of this up is because it highlights a key distinction.
All week we’ve been talking about the future of biotechnology in Profit Watch. A future that is far bigger and broader than just the pharmaceutical aspect.
Yes, drugs are important. But, as we’re now seeing, technology and innovation is pushing new boundaries.
Novel drug delivery methods like Vaxxas’ patch are part of it. So too is the ever-evolving use of AI and data in healthcare. And then there is synbio…
A revolution like no other
In case you missed it, my colleague Ryan Dinse has spent the last three days covering Synthetic Biology. Or as he likes to call it, ‘synbio’.
I implore you, if you haven’t done so already, go back and read them. This is a story that you won’t find anywhere else, and an opportunity that can’t be ignored.
If Ryan is right, the implications and ramifications of synbio will be huge. Turbocharging the industry to new levels of innovation and capabilities. In his own words:
‘In my opinion, synbio will be to the 2020s what the internet was to investors this past decade.’
Indeed, for more details from the man himself you can watch Ryan’s recent interview with our editorial director Greg Canavan. Part three can be found just below:
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for the final video tomorrow. Wrapping up the final crucial details behind this upcoming synbio revolution.
Until then, hopefully today’s piece has given you further context to this huge opportunity. Because at the end of the day, whatever happens, healthcare will never be the same.
Biotech companies are pushing us into bold new directions.
For investors, that means we’re in for some exciting but daunting times. As we’ve seen recently, biotechs have stolen the limelight somewhat amidst this pandemic.
What many seem to be missing though, is that a vaccine is just the tip of the iceberg.
COVID-19 has certainly brought healthcare innovation front of mind, but it won’t stop there. Not when we have opportunities like synbio.
It’s looking like a wild future, but if you play your cards right, it could also be a profitable one.
For, Profit Watch
Ryan is also the Analyst of Australian Small-Cap Investigator, a stock tipping newsletter that hunts down promising small-cap stocks. For information on how to subscribe and see what Ryan’s telling subscribers right now, click here.