There's a deadly problem with one of the nation's major medical markets - vaccines.
The technology we use today to prevent diseases like the flu, chicken pox, and polio is hopelessly outdated.
It still relies on the delivery of a portion of the actual virus to the patient to develop immunity. Some of these agents are still grown in chicken eggs, just like they were back in the 1930s. And the vaccines themselves or their additives can still make people sick.
But what if you could develop a whole new class of vaccines that were actually safe using a synthetic DNA? Better yet, what if you could vaccinate yourself against HIV, cervical cancer, leukemia, and hepatitis?
The payoff would be tremendous...
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- The Next Profit Breakthrough: Synthetic Biology
- Letting Biotech Companies "Patent Nature" Could Be a Huge Boon for Investors
- Three Biotech Stocks to Buy Now
- Robotics Gives the Paralyzed a Miracle
- The 152-Year-Old Brain That Changed the Course of Science
biotechnology stocks to watch
There's a deadly problem with one of the nation's major medical markets - vaccines.
For example, teams all over the world are now in their labs looking to create novel biotech compounds or drugs by inserting synthetic DNA into cells, either living or artificial. They're also growing new microorganisms that yield biofuels to be used in lieu of oil.
Trouble is, the process is so complex that it can take days to synthesize these man-made genes, usually in small batches.
Not only is it time consuming, but it requires the use of costly robots and other advanced gear. Simply stated, if someone came along with a breakthrough that greatly speeded up the development of synthetic genes, it could affect several industries at once, not to mention its own value in the market.
Allow me to introduce you to Gen9 Inc. The company is blazing a trail in the development of scalable technologies for synthesizing genes.
Now, Gen9 is a small, new dynamic company. And its potential is huge.
It was formed last summer around a unique new device that greatly speeds up the process of creating synthetic DNA.
Even better, it cuts the cost of that process by leaps and bounds.
Next June, the nine justices are expected to settle - once and for all - whether companies can patent human genes in the United States.
The Patent and Trademark Office has been issuing patents on DNA for nearly 30 years, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Roughly 4,000 of the 22,000 human genes now have some form of patent.
But the American Civil Liberties Union has challenged the practice in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics. Now that case will go to the highest court in the country.
At heart, the legal question sounds simple: Does Myriad Genetics Inc. (NasdaqGS:MYGN) have the right to patent two genes that signal whether a woman is at higher risk of getting cancer of the breasts or ovaries?
Myriad of course did not invent or create the breast cancer predisposition genes, referred to as BRCA genes.
But it did create something called the BRACAnalysis test that looks for mutations on these genes. Those mutations are associated with much greater risks of breast and ovarian cancer.
Usually firms cannot get that kind of market protection for something that is clearly a product of nature. But in this case, Myriad has developed a process of extracting a gene that makes the resulting molecule novel and chemically different from DNA that naturally occurs in our bodies.
And, after all, it took Myriad 17 years and $500 million to develop the test. Without barriers to entry, other firms could simply come in, take advantage of all that costly effort and sell a knockoff for less money.
Even if that weren't illegal, it's obviously unfair.
Let's dig into the case and why it matters to you...
Here's why: biotech stocks have been in a stealth bull market in 2012.
In fact, the values of the 230 publicly-traded biotech companies tracked by the BioWorld Stock Report have jumped by an average 38% year-to-date.
The third quarter was especially hot. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index rose 10% over that time frame and is up a healthy 37% this year.
And, nothing is hotter than companies focused on the battle against cancer.
Take Medivation Inc. (Nasdaq: MDVN), for example. This California-based biotech has jumped from $23 to $46 a share, largely on the approval of Xtandi, its novel prostate cancer drug.
Thousands of other experimental drugs are going through various stages of clinical trials, and the largest category in the pipeline is cancer drugs. With that in mind, it's safe to say that if you're looking for a stock with big upside potential, cancer-driven biotech stocks should be high on your list. Biotech Stocks: Cancer Research is Paying Off
A cancer diagnosis was once a death sentence -- especially if you were diagnosed with the disease in its late stages.
But, both government and industry have spent vast sums in the last decade researching how cancers develop and spread.
And now all that investment is starting to pay off -- recent clinical trials and treatment breakthroughs show real promise.
The newest cancer research focuses on three fronts.
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A few weeks ago, the major news outlets were abuzz with details about how two patients paralyzed from the neck down used their minds to control robots.
No doubt, this is a worthy breakthrough. On the other hand...
I first wrote about a similar case back in early January, four months before The New York Times picked it up.
In a story about life-changing gains in the tech sector, I told you about the case of Matt Nagle, a Massachusetts man whose life took a turn for the worse after being paralyzed from the neck down.
To his delight, he had learned to surf the Web, send e-mails, make a robot move its hand and play video games -- all with the power of his own mind.
In fact, I got so much great feedback on that and stories like it, I decided to launch the Era of Radical Change.
I mention this not to brag, but to remind you that you really will learn about key trends in cutting-edge tech long before the general public if you take the time to subscribe.
And that's clearly true when it comes to robots.
Staying Ahead of the Curve in Robotics Stocks
Just two weeks ago I wrote to tell you how a new series of smart machines will have a profound impact on the world around us.
Here's what I said:
"Robots of all sizes are already capable of doing some very complex tasks: They can perform surgery, hair transplants, and even climb inside the human body - through the mouth - to "eat" stomach cancers."
You may recall that I also told you to keep an eye on Heartland Robotics, a startup based in Boston I believe is a good IPO candidate. The firm says it will produce a range of machines that will serve as "the PC" of robots.
And today, I'd like to tell you about another startup that's pushing the boundaries of the robotics revolution.
To continue reading, please click here...
Yet just last week, railroad construction foreman Phineas Gage made headlines again, reaching out from the grave to offer crucial new insights about the how the brain works.
Thanks to a new discovery of old scans of his brain, a crack research team just found key data that will help them solve the riddles of complex brain diseases, with Alzheimer's at the top of the list.
No doubt, these new findings will improve the quality of life for millions. More to the point for investors like us, they could be worth a fortune.
Let me explain.
It All Went Down Like This...
The year was 1848, a heady time for the U.S. railroad boom. Gage headed a Vermont work crew for the Rutland and Burlington Railroad.
He was using a big metal rod to drive blasting powder into rock in Vermont. The rod weighed 13 pounds and was 3.5 feet long and tapered on one end.
There was a spark. Then a boom. And then the rod went right through Gage's skull. It entered through the left cheek, passed behind his left eye, and came out through the top of his head.
Gage survived the bizarre accident. In fact, he spoke within a few minutes, walked on his own, and recognized the town doctor who treated him. But history shows he was never the same person.
And his bizarre change in personality intrigues doctors to this day.