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3 Life Science Stocks Cathie Wood's Buying Hand Over Fist Right Now

By Cory Renauer – Updated Aug 26, 2021 at 2:42PM

Key Points

  • Shares of actively managed exchange-traded funds from ARK Invest more than doubled last year,
  • ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood has been investing heavily in a handful of well-positioned life science businesses.

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ARK Invest made multiple purchases of these stocks last week.

Cathie Wood did a lot of shopping last week for life science stocks. There aren't any guarantees that these three will help ARK Invest ETFs more than double in value again this year, but they could. 

On multiple days last week, Wood added heavily to a handful of different life science positions. Read on to see why she can't seem to get enough of these three. 

Three life-science professionals looking at stocks on a laptop.

Image source: Getty Images.

Ginkgo Bioworks

Ginkgo Bioworks is still a privately held business, but not for much longer. A special purpose acquisition company called Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. (DNA) will soon take this synthetic biology upstart public with the stock symbol "DNA" and an expected $2.5 billion in proceeds.

Ginkgo Bioworks helps businesses in a variety of industries to breed new strains of microorganisms like yeast to produce specific high-value ingredients. For example, Ginko Bioworks has partnered with another synthetic biology start-up called Antheia to help it breed a new strain of yeast that produces raw ingredients used to manufacture pharmaceuticals.

Ginkgo Bioworks is aiming way beyond the pharmaceutical industry. The company is also partnered with a synthetic biology company called Bolt Threads to help it breed an organism that produces extra-strong silk. With a finger in dozens of different pies, it's no wonder Wood can't seem to get enough of this stock.


As Ginko Bioworks is showing us, automation plays an increasingly important role in new drug discovery and life science industries. This is why Wood has been grabbing up shares of UiPath (PATH -0.56%) left and right. This company is helping life sciences businesses and other employers with lots of data to manage to eliminate manual and mundane tasks from their employees' list of job responsibilities.

Businesses in the life sciences and other niches who want to automate digital tasks are beating a path to UiPath's door. This is because their employees don't need to speak any special programming language to design and implement customized automation processes.

A fiscal first-quarter report in June wasn't as amazing as investors had hoped, but it was still pretty good. Annual recurring revenue or ARR rose 64% year over year to $653 million during the three months ended April 30, 2021.

With relatively reliable subscription revenue from a rapidly growing customer base, it's easy to see why Wood enthusiastically bought shares of UiPath five times for three different ARK Invest funds last week.

Investors picking stocks.

Image source: Getty Images.

Adaptive Biotechnologies

Your immune system does a much better job of monitoring for cancer than anything humans have invented. Rather than try to beat nature at its own game, Adaptive Biotechnologies (ADPT -2.17%) is learning to read signs the adaptive immune system throws off in response to specific diseases.

It's still early innings for this life science niche, but demand for the company's immune receptor-based products is growing fast. The company expects topline revenue to soar 52% year over year to around $150 million in 2021.

The way oncologists monitoring cancer patients in remission for signs of recurrence has improved a great deal in recent years thanks in large part to advances in immunosequencing made by this company. Adaptive Biotechnologies' platform reads genetic material contained in patient samples for biopharmaceutical companies, academic researchers, and clinicians.

The company's immunoSEQ product already knows more about immune receptors than potential competitors and it's learning more every day. Data gleaned from immunoSEQ services also inform the company's highly successful diagnostic product, clonoSEQ. This test tells oncologists if any of any immune cells have been specialized to attack cancer, a process that begins long before patients can present any visible signs of recurrence.

Adaptive Biotechnologies, like the other stocks on this list, carries a market valuation that has a lot of future success baked in. Wood's been buying these stocks lately, but none carry a weight higher than a few percent of any ARK Invest ETFs. Similarly limiting your own exposure is probably a good idea too. 

Cory Renauer has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation Stock Quote
Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation
$8.12 (-2.17%) $0.18
UiPath Inc. Stock Quote
UiPath Inc.
$12.42 (-0.56%) $0.07
Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. Stock Quote
Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp.

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