Illumina: Dollars in DNA
This speculative biotech is a leading player in the race to commercialize genome sequencing.
We want to start the year off with a great speculative opportunity -- Illumina (ILMN).
This San Diego biotech firm and medical instrument maker specializes in DNA sequencing and the genetic research that is so valuable in detecting and curing diseases.
Illumina is one of the primary players in the race to commercialize full genome sequencing, and the price is falling quickly for individuals (from $48,000 per genome to $4,000 today).
Illumina's CEO Jay Flatley states, "A complete DNA read-out for every newborn will be technically feasible and affordable in less than five years, promising a revolution in healthcare" and that "by 2019 it will have become routine to map infants' genes when they are born."
Last year, Illumina's stock fell by half when earnings unexpectedly declined 43% to $113 million on flat sales of $1.07 billion. But with profit margins and return on equity up by double-digit percentages, I expect the selling has been overdone and Illumina will be back on track for another great year. In fact, there's already been some insider buying of the stock.
A recent article highlighted the Buffalo Science and Technology Fund, one of the top performers in the past 12 months, and one of its favorite stocks is Illumina.
Illumina also announced a new chief financial officer, after a two-and-a-half-year search. He is Marc Stapley, 42, formerly Pfizer's senior vice president in charge of global finance.
Stapley helped the drug giant digest its acquisitions of Wyeth and King Pharmaceutical. Expect Illumina to expand rapidly abroad.
Let's add Illumina to our recommended list of speculative growth stocks. If all goes well, it could double in 2012.
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