Clayton Christensen on Winners and Losers in the Next Economy

Question: Where is the next big opportunity?

Christensen:    The biggest opportunities are in healthcare.  We are now just desperate to make healthcare affordable and accessible.  And healthcare is something that everybody consumes, great opportunities for non-consumers to be brought into the market by making things affordable and accessible.  Now, I just can’t think of another industry that has those kinds of characteristics where demand is robust, great opportunity for disruption, so that’s where I’d focus.

Question: Who will be the biggest losers?

Christensen:    I think the big losers on the other side of the recession will be Wall Street.  It’s easy for me to see that the locus of money and the decisions that are made on how to finance the world’s business have been migrating and now are almost being pushed to places like Singapore and Hong Kong where they’ve had regulations that have kept the financial institutions much stronger.  So I think Wall Street, overall, is just never going to come back to what it used to be.  The investment banks, this is not news, but examined through the lenses of our research on disruptive innovation, the commercial banks have disrupted the investment banking business.  So when [IB] was eliminated, it allowed the investment banks to get into commercial lending and the commercial lenders to get into equity financing.  But did you notice that none of the investment banks went into commercial lending in a big way, and the reason is that the margins are so unattractive in the lending business versus the equity financing business that it just didn’t make sense.  Whereas for the commercial banks to get into equity financing, the margins there are so much more attractive than lending that they’ve all moved that market and basically wiped out the entire investment banking industry.  And the reaction of the investment banks to the disruption by the commercials was to kind of quit the asset business entirely and to begin fabricating these securities where you can earn transaction fees without having to have assets in the bank at all.  And so the ROEs and the ROAs go away, yeah, because they synthesized these securities and earn transaction fees and, you know, that’s kind of collapsed on them.  I think that’s just the whole industry there that’s gone.

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen on the rise of health care and the demise of Wall Street.

Why so gassy? Mysterious methane detected on Saturn’s moon

Scientists do not know what is causing the overabundance of the gas.

Credit: NASA
Surprising Science
  • A new study looked to understand the source of methane on Saturn's moon Enceladus.
  • The scientists used computer models with data from the Cassini spacecraft.
  • The explanation could lie in alien organisms or non-biological processes.
Keep reading Show less

CRISPR therapy cures first genetic disorder inside the body

It marks a breakthrough in using gene editing to treat diseases.

Credit: National Cancer Institute via Unsplash
Technology & Innovation

This article was originally published by our sister site, Freethink.

For the first time, researchers appear to have effectively treated a genetic disorder by directly injecting a CRISPR therapy into patients' bloodstreams — overcoming one of the biggest hurdles to curing diseases with the gene editing technology.

The therapy appears to be astonishingly effective, editing nearly every cell in the liver to stop a disease-causing mutation.

The challenge: CRISPR gives us the ability to correct genetic mutations, and given that such mutations are responsible for more than 6,000 human diseases, the tech has the potential to dramatically improve human health.

One way to use CRISPR to treat diseases is to remove affected cells from a patient, edit out the mutation in the lab, and place the cells back in the body to replicate — that's how one team functionally cured people with the blood disorder sickle cell anemia, editing and then infusing bone marrow cells.

Bone marrow is a special case, though, and many mutations cause disease in organs that are harder to fix.

Another option is to insert the CRISPR system itself into the body so that it can make edits directly in the affected organs (that's only been attempted once, in an ongoing study in which people had a CRISPR therapy injected into their eyes to treat a rare vision disorder).

Injecting a CRISPR therapy right into the bloodstream has been a problem, though, because the therapy has to find the right cells to edit. An inherited mutation will be in the DNA of every cell of your body, but if it only causes disease in the liver, you don't want your therapy being used up in the pancreas or kidneys.

A new CRISPR therapy: Now, researchers from Intellia Therapeutics and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have demonstrated for the first time that a CRISPR therapy delivered into the bloodstream can travel to desired tissues to make edits.

We can overcome one of the biggest challenges with applying CRISPR clinically.

—JENNIFER DOUDNA

"This is a major milestone for patients," Jennifer Doudna, co-developer of CRISPR, who wasn't involved in the trial, told NPR.

"While these are early data, they show us that we can overcome one of the biggest challenges with applying CRISPR clinically so far, which is being able to deliver it systemically and get it to the right place," she continued.

What they did: During a phase 1 clinical trial, Intellia researchers injected a CRISPR therapy dubbed NTLA-2001 into the bloodstreams of six people with a rare, potentially fatal genetic disorder called transthyretin amyloidosis.

The livers of people with transthyretin amyloidosis produce a destructive protein, and the CRISPR therapy was designed to target the gene that makes the protein and halt its production. After just one injection of NTLA-2001, the three patients given a higher dose saw their levels of the protein drop by 80% to 96%.

A better option: The CRISPR therapy produced only mild adverse effects and did lower the protein levels, but we don't know yet if the effect will be permanent. It'll also be a few months before we know if the therapy can alleviate the symptoms of transthyretin amyloidosis.

This is a wonderful day for the future of gene-editing as a medicine.

—FYODOR URNOV

If everything goes as hoped, though, NTLA-2001 could one day offer a better treatment option for transthyretin amyloidosis than a currently approved medication, patisiran, which only reduces toxic protein levels by 81% and must be injected regularly.

Looking ahead: Even more exciting than NTLA-2001's potential impact on transthyretin amyloidosis, though, is the knowledge that we may be able to use CRISPR injections to treat other genetic disorders that are difficult to target directly, such as heart or brain diseases.

"This is a wonderful day for the future of gene-editing as a medicine," Fyodor Urnov, a UC Berkeley professor of genetics, who wasn't involved in the trial, told NPR. "We as a species are watching this remarkable new show called: our gene-edited future."

Android has won the phone world war

A global survey shows the majority of countries favor Android over iPhone.

Credit: Electronics Hub
Strange Maps
  • When Android was launched soon after Apple's own iPhone, Steve Jobs threatened to "destroy" it.
  • Ever since, and across the world, the rivalry between both systems has animated users.
  • Now the results are in: worldwide, consumers clearly prefer one side — and it's not Steve Jobs'.
Keep reading Show less

UFOs: US intelligence report finds no aliens but plenty of unidentified flying objects

A new government report describes 144 sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena.

Photo by Albert Antony on Unsplash
Surprising Science

On June 25, 2021, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a much-anticipated report on UFOs to Congress.

Keep reading Show less
Quantcast