Please note: this blog was published in October 2021 and its content is based on what was correct at the time of writing. As a result, some of the facts and opinions may no longer be current or relevant.
Research, testing, and prevention of diseases have always been crucial for humanity, and recent events have only emphasised their impact on our day-to-day lives and wellbeing. Public health has been a hot topic since 2020, with related concerns regularly discussed and debated, to the extent that terms such as ‘antibody’ and ‘vaccine’ are now common features in our daily conversations. The eventual return to normality will likely see these conversations subside but the importance and requirement of the investigation and monitoring of illnesses will remain. Innovations within this field are therefore imperative to protecting our way of life.
Our Ethical Investment Plans include a biotech company Abcam, which is held in the recently introduced Liontrust Sustainable Future UK Growth Fund.
The finance stuff 📈
Company value: £3.34bn
Share price: £14.74
2021 Profits: £297.7mn
What does Abcam do? 🧬
Abcam is a multinational biotechnology company that aims to positively impact both science and society through its research, diagnosis, and therapeutic solutions. The company was founded in 1998 in Cambridge, with the objective of creating antibodies of the highest quality and distributing them across the globe. Antibodies, as many of us have recently learned, are proteins that serve to fight infections by destroying the harmful virus or bacteria.
Over the past 20 years, Abcam has exhibited staggering growth, and now has offices in 15 locations worldwide and products delivered to customers in over 130 countries. Furthermore, Abcam has expanded its range of proteins and cells to test and fight a large number of diseases including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Multiple Sclerosis and many more. Although by no means a household name, it is likely that many of us have benefitted from at least one of its 110,000 products. In investment terms, Abcam has an extremely diverse portfolio. The respect for these innovations is evident, particularly from academics, as 50% of all life science reports published in 2019 cited an Abcam product.1 Abcam also reported a product satisfaction percentage of 98.68% in 2020.1
What positive impact is Abcam having? 💪
Considering Abcam’s extensive range of products, it is no surprise that the company is having a positive effect on its stakeholders. Global sustainability is at the forefront of Abcam’s mission. Its products contribute to 7 of the United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including quality education, gender equality, and climate action. Impressive by any standard! The company is also prospering financially, as its revenue increased by 13% on average annually between 2014 and 2020.2
Abcam has established partnerships with several leading charities and organisations to advance research breakthroughs in numerous areas. An example of this is its collaboration with the Michael J. Fox Foundation, formed with an ambitious target of generating a cure for Parkinson’s, a disease that over 10 million people worldwide are currently living with.3 This alliance has been productive, with 72 products created so far. Abcam has also teamed up with renowned cancer charity, Cancer Research UK, to develop antibodies to accelerate the research into this brutal disease.
The company is also playing an active role in the global fight against the coronavirus, entering discussions relating to over 30 potential collaborations for treatment, testing, and vaccine development for the virus.1 Abcam aims to positively impact society through its “80/20 Giving” initiative where 80% of funds are allocated towards healthcare causes aligned with their research areas, and the remaining 20% is distributed to charities which support local communities. Employee satisfaction is another priority for Abcam, which has resulted in recognition from Glassdoor as the UK’s third best place to work in 2021.4
What Abcam have to say 📣
"Our impact in the life sciences community is growing, and we are becoming ever more influential by fuelling faster breakthroughs in biological research and human health. Our business objectives and our sustainability objectives are one and the same. The more successful Abcam can be, the greater the value we bring to science and society."
- Alan Hirzel, CEO, 2020 Impact Report
What Liontrust think… 🤓
We believe the global healthcare industry needs to innovate, as it looks to address vast areas of unmet medical needs. The key to this innovation is research and development and we invest in the picks and shovels of this R&D across our portfolios. Abcam is a great example of a company at the leading edge of providing those picks and shovels and therefore a strong fit for our Enabling Innovation in healthcare theme.
To wrap up 🎁
Biotechnology companies have a vital role in humanity’s response to current and future global health challenges, and Abcam has thrived from this responsibility. Through its products, partnerships, and people Abcam has established a business model that is not only sustainable in terms of structure, but also in terms of its impact on the global community. For ethical investors, Abcam continues to offer an exciting growth prospect, with sustainability at the heart of its mandate.