Fleming Asset Management is believed to be preparing a Luxembourg-based fund investing in life scienc...
The fund would be likely to take a global investment view, containing not just US stocks but also investments in the Far East, continental Europe and the UK, in order to capitalise fully on innovations in biotechnology and life sciences, and to leverage off the research capabilities Flemings' possesses around the world.
The launch of a biotech-oriented fund could be appropriate, sector specialists say, given that the sector is currently undergoing a metamorphosis.
The sector is growing exponentially as a result of an ageing world population, the need for an ever-increasing number of drugs to combat existing and new diseases, and the application of new technology which is revolutionising medical research.
The key innovation is the application of computer processing power to the sequencing and mapping of human genomes, something which was not possible just 18 months ago.
There is now industrial-scale screening and analysis flowing from gene discovery.
Additionally, with a relatively few products now in the pipeline and a number of major patents due to expire, large pharmaceutical companies will be forced to invest in new drugs in order to maintain revenues.
As a result, smaller companies which discover either a gene treatment or a gene specifically associated with a disease and patent it accordingly, stand to outperform if and when the drugs come to market via the big pharmaceutical companies.
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