Morgan Stanley
  • Ideas
  • Dec 19, 2018

Biotech’s Brilliant Vision

Technology is aiming for a disease-free future

Cutting edge research is targeting cancer cells and more, fuelling growth in the business of better health.

We live in a time when innovative new technology is converging with cutting edge research to breach the historic boundary lines of scientific possibility.

According to Morgan Stanley Research, diseases that “were previously chronic could become cured with a single injection of a drug. Diseases that were previously unable to be targeted could now be available for treatment by “fixing” the “broken” genetic material that is creating the wrong proteins.”    

Cancer treatment is moving further towards personalised and targeted therapies with 87% of the pipeline of drugs focused in this area . Targeted agents slow the growth of a cancer and are less toxic than chemotherapy, which targets all cells.

– Morgan Stanley Research

With non-communicable diseases (“NCDs”) recognised as the greatest cause of death globally, most of us have felt the impact of their presence either directly or indirectly through the suffering or loss of a loved one.

The statistics on NCDs are sobering. They are responsible for an estimated 40 million deaths in 2015, representing 70% of the overall total. The majority of these deaths came from four diseases; cardiovascular (45% of all NCD deaths), cancer (22%), chronic respiratory disease (10%) and diabetes (4%).

Contributing to this grim reality is the prospect of a rapidly ageing population. By 2030 the number of people aged 60 or older is expected to reach 1.4 billion globally, an increase of more than 500 million. An additional concern is the migratory pattern of a new, and expanding, middle class – which is predicted to balloon by 3 billion, while continuing a trend for relocation to highly urbanised city environments. Morgan Stanley Research expects the lifestyle changes that accompany middle class migration to also create additional health problems over time.

Combined with burgeoning technological developments like genome-editing, these projected demographic and social changes point to an increasing demand for research and development across the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors. They also highlight an emerging opportunity for key-player companies to achieve real change fuelled by cutting-edge innovation.

The takeaway for investors is that, although technology isn't new to the pharmaceutical industry, it’s a space where technology's contribution is moving from low- to high-value, and could present a catalyst for improved drug efficacy and lowered cost.    


For information on investment opportunities in the pharmaceutical and bio-tech sectors, speak to your Morgan Stanley financial adviser. Plus, more Ideas