What was almost-jokingly called his “Cancer Moonshot” by President Obama during his State of the Union speech is already yielding significant results. As someone with a family history of cancer – almost everyone is – I also have a stake in this.
The Cancer Moonshot does have real similarities to the Apollo program. It is mission oriented, focused solely on finding cures for cancer. It forces companies to cooperate with one another as the price of funding. It has a single, easy to understand goal, that of doubling the progress toward cures by 2020. And it has the ultimate government priority.
Just as the Cold War helped create our technology industry, with funding to build markets for semiconductors, integrated circuits and the Internet itself, so for the first time civilian necessity is creating the Next Big Thing.
That Next Big Thing, the industry that will replace computer technology as the driver of the economy in my children’s age, is treating DNA as a computer language. There are already a lot of companies trying to do this, or claiming to do this, and it’s impossible at this time to predict which will be the Apple, or the Cromemco, of the new age.
When looking for that company, I advise investors not to seek an outfit with a drug, but one with a method. A company like Illumina, which went public in 2000 and is now worth over $25 billion, could be the next Microsoft, or it could be the next Digital Research.