IN FOCUS: ILLUMINA ‘ IT’S BEHIND A REVOLUTION THAT WILL LAST FOR DECADES’
Illumina is one of our biggest holdings. The firm makes sequencing machines, which help determine the way human DNA is constructed. This information is then used to help create medicines and extend our knowledge of human biology.
Our investment in this company shows how we think about the long term.
The first human genome was sequenced in 2003 and it cost $2.7bn, but since then the price of gene sequencing has fallen substantially. Today it costs about $1,000 to sequence a human genome and by 2022 this is expected to fall to $100.
Our understanding of DNA is increasing at such a rapid rate. As investors we must think about what these continuing advances will mean for drug development and human health.
Illumina is at the heart of this genomic revolution. It manufactures genesequencing machines and about 95pc of all human genes ever sequenced have involved the use of an Illumina machine.
It is a huge company that people may not have heard of. But we think this company will be behind a revolution that will last for decades. It is an unstoppable force.
What has been your biggest success?
Grubhub is the American equivalent of JustEat, a takeaway ordering and delivery app. Penetration of these services in America is way behind Britain and Europe, and Grubhub is by far the market leader there.
And your biggest mistake?
Under Armour, the sportswear brand, hasn’t done very well. There have been some management issues and it has distributed its goods to too many low-end retailers, which hasn’t helped the brand. It has lost its premium edge somewhat.
Do you have your own money in the fund?
The team has the vast majority of its wealth in Baillie Gifford funds.
How are you paid?
It is based on individual, team and firm performance over five years.
What would you have been if you weren’t a fund manager?
An architect. I always loved the artistic and creative element.