Illumina is one of the few companies which is at the cutting edge of improving our quality of life. It develops highly complex machines which sequence or ‘read’ genomes. Genomes contain our complete set of DNA and include all genes.
By sequencing and deciphering our genomes, it is hoped that we can understand what parts of our DNA make us more susceptible to certain conditions and what treatments will work best to combat them. The end goal being the use of more targeted therapies and better patient outcomes. Many medical breakthroughs have already occurred as a result, particularly in the field of oncology (cancer).
Illumina say just 0.01% of all species have had their DNA sequenced, less than 0.02% of humans have and that 99% of the variants discovered in the genome are not understood. The potential for the business is truly astounding.
But with such exciting prospects comes a hefty valuation, shares trade on 54x last year’s earning, meaning that operational execution will need to be flawless. Additionally, genome sequencing is still a nascent industry which is experiencing rapid technology advancement. Whether Illumina continues to lead it, is not a foregone conclusion