Apr 6, 2000 at 12:00AM
The announcement came several hours before Dr. Craig Venter, Celera's President and CSO (that's Chief Scientific Officer), testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science about the current status and benefits of public and private efforts to sequence the human genome. It's times like this I wish I'd paid more attention in biology class.
Having Celera in our portfolio has been quite a wild and exciting ride over the past several months. With volatility intense enough to make Dracula risk a daytime appearance to monitor his portfolio, Celera has produced the most dramatic price swings of any Rule Breaker holding this side of Mark McGwire.
This is understandable, however, considering that Celera's work in mapping the human genome will eventually lead to the kinds of revolutionary discoveries that change lives. Ultimately, discoveries attained through Celera's work will help us know, perhaps at birth, what diseases we're susceptible to and help us understand all about our metabolism. According to a cover story in this week's Newsweek, doctors "will drip droplets of our genes onto a biochip to figure out if we have the kind of prostate cancer that will kill or not, or to figure out if ours is the kind of leukemia that responds to this drug rather than that one. They will analyze our children's genes to rank their chances of succumbing to heart disease or Alzheimer's." Amazing stuff.
The big question all along has been whether Celera can transform their research into the dollars that successful companies are made of.
At today's Congressional hearing, Dr. Venter was asked how Celera's business model has changed since he last testified before Congress more than six months ago. The major thing that's changed, he indicated, is that the company's business model has been validated. Originally, the model was high-risk and experimental, as it was new and untested. But now, with pharmaceutical partners signing on for subscriptions at the cost of anywhere from $5 million to $15 million a year, its business model is clearly evolving into a financial reality.
Confusion about Celera's business occurs when people mistakenly believe that the company is trying to patent the human genome. It's not. It needs users of information. The subscribers themselves are the business model. Celera's dream is that every researcher will ultimately use their data to realize scientific breakthroughs. Its main goal is to accelerate the information's availability to move research forward.
My main goal is for them to figure out how to replace the gene for cellulite.
- Apr 6, 2000 at 12:00AM
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