Why Research: Seeking Out Innovators in Cancer Therapy
See how Global Life Sciences Portfolio Manager Andy Acker and Research Analyst Dan Lyons analyze biotechnology companies pursuing innovative platforms and research to bring new therapies to patients with major unmet medical needs, such as cancer, as they visit and research companies at their home base.
- Innovations in cancer therapy are leading to customized solutions for individual patients
- In order to identify attractive opportunities, investors need to have a strong understanding of the science underpinning these innovations
- Fundamental research, including site-visits and statistical analysis of potential outcomes, are among tools that active managers in the health care sector utilize
Andy Acker: We’re in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the hotbed of biotechnology.
Dan Lyons: We’re looking for companies that are pursuing innovative platforms and research to bring new therapies to patients with major, unmet medical needs.
Acker: As an analyst, we think it’s always extremely important to go visit companies at their home base. We want to see what the environment is like, what the culture is like. We want to meet with people beyond just the CEO and the CFO. We want to meet the head of clinical development. We want to meet the head of operations. We want to tour their labs.
Lyons: As analysts at Janus Henderson, we are given virtually unlimited resources. Typically, I’ll do two to three trips a month doing research. One of the companies that I found to be the most exciting over the past six months is a company working in the cancer field and their idea is basically to take out any given patient’s tumor, sequence it to understand what’s different about it, what makes it unique to that one individual. And basically they can come up with 20 unique things about every given tumor and then put that into a vaccine that your body will then start reacting to and retrain your body to basically fight that cancer and hopefully kill it eventually.
We went in to the manufacturing suite and saw where they make the product. So they made us wear gowns and the whole thing, which was amazing, we saw them actually going through the process and making cancer vaccines for individual patients.
Acker: It’s really important to have a highly experienced team and our team has over 100 years of experience evaluating health care companies. And it’s also important to understand the science, which is why many of the members of our team have scientific backgrounds including two Ph.D.s – in organic chemistry and immunology.
Lyons: I think we do get a lot of respect from companies, particularly in the biotech technology space.
Acker: What is amazing to see today is the progress in the field and the potential to actually have a huge impact on the way medicine is practiced.