In a way, every starry-eyed dreamer has Ralph Waldo Emerson to blame.
"Build a better mousetrap," he wrote, "and the world will beat a path to your door."
Since these words were written, millions of entrepreneurs have been more than happy to chase a quixotic promise.
Because the truth is that Emerson’s simple metaphor is also pretty profound: Big or small, the right idea really can earn you a fortune.
That, of course, is where the stock market comes in.
After all, you don’t need to be a genius like Steve Jobs to make a ton of money, you just need to have the foresight to invest in creative companies like his — and the earlier, the better.
Top scientists have been burning the midnight oil, working on new mousetraps of their own. For successful investors, this has created a slew of new opportunities for which to get in on the ground floor.
These opportunities are what make the biotech sector so attractive these days…
DNA Vaccine Investments are A Path to Profit
Headed down the biotech pipeline is a third generation of new vaccines that hold the kind of promise that will make early investors small fortunes — if they are patient.
They are called DNA vaccines, and part of what makes this sector such an attractive investment opportunity is that these vaccines are just beginning to emerge in the new marketplace.
In fact, the DNA vaccine market is so young that the global market for these vaccines is expected to increase from $193.2 million this year to more than $2.7 billion in 2014, for a five-year compound annual growth rate of 69.5%. From there, the sky is the limit.
You see, standard vaccines are made of disarmed versions of viruses that are often grown inside chicken eggs. That technology is not only antiquated, but it’s also potentially dangerous. What’s more, it is an 80-year-old method that is entirely ill suited to meet the needs of the modern marketplace.
Just look back at what happened this year with the Swine Flu fiasco…
The sad reality is that the "old school" doses were manufactured too late — in too-short supply — and in some cases, actually did more harm than they did good.
And the truth is that the entire situation could have turned into a calamity pretty quickly had the H1N1 been more deadly than it was. The next time we may not be so "lucky."
But unlike those standard vaccines, DNA vaccines are a much simpler and more elegant solution… which is why the world will one day beat a path to their door.
DNA vaccines are made by placing the genes of a particular viral strain into a circular DNA structure, called a plasmid. Once injected, these plasmids enter the cell structures and begin to produce proteins, which generate the immune response. It is this technique that makes producing commercial quantities of DNA vaccines much faster than the current method.
The key to this process: the immune response is more complete with the DNA method than it is with standard vaccines because they also stimulate the production of killer T cells, which are important in controlling some types of infection.
Standard vaccines, on the other hand, work in an entirely different manner.
What’s more, these new vaccines can be developed to fight off numerous strains of the flu instead of a single variety.
The potential exists to develop a universal influenza vaccine to protect against both seasonal strains as well as new influenza strains that scientists and doctors cannot prepare for in advance.
The Tip of the Iceberg
The potential for DNA vaccines goes even further.
Aside from just preventing the flu, DNA vaccines also offer the following advantages:
DNA vaccines are efficient at generating T-cell responses that may kill targeted cancerous cells or cells infected by the targeted virus or bacteria.
DNA vaccines may therefore also be used as a therapeutic to treat existing disease. This capability provides the potential to treat chronic infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C virus, as well as the possibility to develop therapeutic cancer vaccines.
DNA vaccines can potentially be developed from concept to FDA approval in eight to 10 years, compared to the up to 20-year period it took to develop the chickenpox vaccine.
DNA vaccines can be readily manufactured using off-the-shelf, well-proven fermentation technology.
DNA vaccines — in most cases — do not require cold storage and distribution.
And unlike the old vaccine model, DNA vaccines can’t actually cause disease — a big sticking point for the vaccines we use today.
Add it all up and it is easy to see why the DNA vaccine market is just beginning to heat up.
So while it has been tough watching the markets tumble of late, don’t forget that select biotechnology companies are working everyday to bring those new mousetraps to market.
The smart investors will be the ones who ride the profit wave along with them.
Your bargain-hunting analyst,
Steve Christ, Investment Director
The Wealth Advisory