I've been investing and trading in healthcare stocks successfully for a decade. During the depths of the financial crisis in the first week of March 2009, I went on national TV for the first time and was asked to pick some stocks.
And I was nervous about potentially giving bad advice to millions of people.
I didn't know the market would bottom that week, so I asked myself...
"What are 2 sure things I would tell retail investors they could buy right now that would put their money to work at incredible levels, let them sleep at night during the volatility, and make them very happy 5 years from now?"
My two no-brainer choices were my favorite baskets of innovation and long-term growth: the Technology SPDR ETF (XLK) and the Nasdaq Biotech Index (IBB).
The Technology play was probably obvious to anyone who had just bought a smartphone or new car full of semiconductors. But the Biotech one might still seem risky to some.
How could I be so confident it was a "sure thing?" Because I started identifying the key "megatrends" that made the frontiers of the life sciences and medical R&D so promising for decades to come.
You can read my latest description of those growth drivers in this report...
4 Healthcare Megatrends for Investors
In 2013, I ran a trading portfolio at Zacks that racked up a 66% return primarily on the back of Biotech stocks in that strong bull run they had. 2014 and 2015 proved much more difficult with big corrections and then a peak.
But my "megatrends" proved profoundly resilient. And they inspired us to start a new long-term portfolio at Zacks focused directly on them.
We called it Healthcare Innovators and launched in April of 2017.
Since then, some of the gains have been fantastic...
Sangamo Therapeutics (SGMO) +155.61% (closed trade)
bluebird bio (BLUE - Free Report) +138.17% (still holding after JUNO buyout)
Editas Medicine (EDIT - Free Report) +115.33% (still holding on gene editing innovation)
Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT - Free Report) +106.84% (still holding as leading company in Duchenne muscular dystrophy)
Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) +98.06% (sold after Celgene acquisition)
Note: BLUE, EDIT, and SRPT are still open trades showing these gains as of Thursday morning on 3/8/2018.
That JUNO closed trade was following the buyout by Celgene (CELG) in January. And we had already executed and closed a big swing trade in JUNO for 70% gains in 2017.
And for a wonderful and profitable "fat tail" event, the same day JUNO was acquired, our Bioverativ (BIVV) was purchased by the French pharma giant Sanofi for a big premium which handed us a 75% winner.
A Robust Research Process
To be clear, not every investment is a winner. We take a lot of shots -- about 25 open positions on average in any given month -- and one big loser was NewLink Genetics (NLNK) which cost us 53%. This is proof I'm not infallible and that Biotech investing remains very risky, with large and binary asymmetric payoffs due to the gauntlet of human clinical trials and FDA rulings.
But I employ a clear and definable research process that has 5 key steps and it allows me to find at least 3 winners for every wipe-out in the treacherous Biotech landscape.
We took a chance on gene editing company Editas Medicine (EDIT - Free Report) at $25 and watching the trends in BioPharma M&A, I decided we could do the same with peer Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA - Free Report) .
Notably, Intellia saw a price target boost yesterday by Barclays from $33 to $46 and today coverage was initiated by JMP Securities with a $76 price target, projecting over 150% upside!
Plus, it helped my conviction in these CRISPR gene editing companies that I read as much as I could about the science and its founders, Dr. Jennifer Doudna and Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier.
But my Healthcare Innovators portfolio is not solely focused on Biotech. We have enjoyed sizable gains with large pharma companies like AbbVie (ABBV), surgical device companies like Edwards Lifesciences (EW), and HMO's like Centene (CNC), all of which I believe have more room to run.
And one of my proudest runners making our members smile is Align Technology (ALGN - Free Report) , maker of the Invisalign "teeth straighteners," a great alternative to traditional braces. The company is posting consistent 30% growth quarter after quarter as both American teens and their dentists realize the beautiful fit of their digitally-mastered dental solutions.
Plus, the international growth opportunity is what has kept us in the stock for the long-term since $133, even during big pullbacks from all-time highs above $260.
I hope I have convinced you that the Healthcare Megatrends are in full force and will be for many more years.
Besides making profitable investments, there is also one other fantastic benefit I didn't describe: studying the lifesciences companies is a never-ending journey of discovery that can expand your knowledge of human physiology, wellness, disease, nutrition and the future of medicine.
Once you're hooked on so much to learn and wonder about, you'll never be bored again in your life!
Disclosure: I own shares of BLUE, EDIT, SRPT, NTLA, and ALGN for the Zacks Healthcare Innovators portfolio.
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