The View from ARK Invest: A Discussion with Simon Barnett and Ali Urman

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During the recent biotechnology financing boom, investors pumped billions of dollars into startups across specialties ranging from cell and gene therapy to cancer immunotherapy and CRISPR genome editing. But that boom has given way to a bear market in the past year.

Simon Barnett and Ali Urman are senior analysts with ARK Invest, an investment management firm that specializes in public companies with a bent for innovation. Because public markets remain dry, ARK is now also looking to invest in private companies as well.

In this discussion with GEN’s Fay Lin, PhD, and Alex Philippidis, Simon Barnett and Ali Urman explain how ARK Invest came to focus on disruptive public companies, how the firm approaches advancing innovation in its portfolio companies, and their search for startups with promising technologies and enough business expertise to commercialize them. The pair also describes how the new ARK Innovation Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, will allow the firm to accelerate the growth of early-stage companies in the area.