2 top trends to invest $2,000 in ahead of the crowd

These two trends on the frontier of medicine could present lucrative opportunities for investment.

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This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

There's an old chestnut that most investors could stand to hear: If you want to succeed in investing (or hockey), skate to where the puck is going, not to where it's been.

Buying shares of yesterday's winning businesses might be a decent way to preserve your wealth by banking on their continued success, but if you want to nab big gains, you'll need to invest in companies that are working on solving tomorrow's problems today. Clocking important trends in the economy and the world is critical for guiding your search.

So let's take a look at two trends that'll likely be huge in the near future. You'll gain a few actionable ideas about investments that could pay off down the line.

1. Psychedelic therapies for mental illnesses

Psychedelic drugs like psilocybin, LSD, ketamine, and MDMA aren't legal to use recreationally in most places, but that doesn't mean they can't be powerful medicines when used appropriately.

The current standards of care for some common yet difficult-to-treat conditions like major depressive disorder are interventions like antidepressant drugs and cognitive behavioral therapy that leave many patients experiencing relapses despite treatment. But psychedelic therapies delivered by experienced therapists might not have that problem -- which could be an opportunity the businesses that make them.

Compass Pathways (NASDAQ: CMPS) and Atai Life Sciences (NASDAQ: ATAI) are two biotech stocks with pipelines chock-full of psychedelic therapies in clinical development. Per Compass' data from one of its phase 2b studies, its COMP360 psilocybin-with-talk-therapy combination leads to rapid reduction in depression symptoms that lasts for at least 12 weeks and causes few serious side effects. For some subsets of patients, the improvements appear to be long-lasting or perhaps even permanent. And Atai's equity interest in Compass means that it stands to benefit from the therapy's sales if it's eventually commercialized.

But Compass' impressive results are far from the only success story in recent clinical trials of psychedelics. Numerous third-party researchers and academic groups have shown compelling results that suggest psychedelics have the chance to reshape psychiatry as we know it, and for the better. If you want to get exposure to upside from drug development in the psychedelics space, either Atai or Compass is a suitable place to consider investing.

2. Treating or curing long COVID

As you may have heard, long COVID is an illness that features a sometimes-debilitating constellation of symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, and cognitive issues, all of which can occur after someone is infected with the coronavirus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 7.5% of adults in the U.S. are afflicted with long COVID. And an estimated 80% of people who have been infected with the coronavirus have at least one long-term symptom associated with their illness. Right now, it appears that even fully vaccinated and boosted people can experience long COVID, and even mild coronavirus infections can cause it.

To make matters worse, there are no specific treatments for it yet, and the ranks of the afflicted are, unfortunately, growing.

A few different companies are either considering or have already initiated investigations into long COVID therapies. Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE) antiviral medicine, Paxlovid, might soon be tested for that purpose, though no trials are currently ongoing. GlaxoSmithKline and other major drug manufacturers are also considering initiating new therapy programs, and a few biotechs have already tested candidates in clinical trials and struck out.

With so many millions of people suffering with long COVID, any medicines that successfully treat it will likely be big moneymakers. For now, there aren't too many places to park $2,000, but if a player like Pfizer announces that it's initiating a project, it'll be a green light for investors. Just keep in mind that there's a significant risk of failure in the clinical trial process, so it might make sense to pick a few different long COVID stocks to buy rather than just one.

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Alex Carchidi has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended COMPASS Pathways plc. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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