The biotechnology sector has been grabbing the headlines on the new coronavirus vaccine and drug-related updates. The space has also kept its promise of generating returns, with the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index rising about 6.9% so far in 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic has been a rising concern as its variants, particularly Delta, have aggravated the spread. However, the launch of certain COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna (
MRNA Quick Quote MRNA - Free Report) , Pfizer Inc. ( PFE Quick Quote PFE - Free Report) and BioNTech SE ( BNTX Quick Quote BNTX - Free Report) , and Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ Quick Quote JNJ - Free Report) has been helping control the outbreak.
It is worth noting here that the FDA had earlier granted the first full U.S. approval to Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine. According to the FDA, the approval has been provided after evaluating enormous vaccine data covering about 40,000 trial participants and reflecting 91% efficiency in preventing COVID-19 (per a CNBC article).
Positive updates on the booster shots have also kept the biotech sector in the spotlight. An advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended a booster or third dose of Pfizer Inc./BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, for adults aged 65 years and above, people living in long-term care facilities, and people aged 50 to 64 years with underlying medical conditions.
The third dose of both Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine and Comirnaty are presently approved for use in immunocompromised individuals having a weakened immune system after six months of the second dose of the initial two-dose regimen. The approvals for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are likely to increase the profits of vaccine makers.
President Joe Biden’s administration is coming up with stricter vaccine mandates to accelerate the rollout of vaccines. Biden has also outlined a very effective plan to expedite the vaccination rate and control the outbreak. He has made it mandatory for federal employees to get the COVID-19 vaccination, per a CNBC article. The Biden government will also issue guidelines to the Labor Department to impose vaccine mandates for employers with more than 100 employees or run weekly tests.
Top-Performing Biotech ETFs YTD
The pandemic has triggered a race to introduce vaccines and treatment options, opening up investment opportunities in the biotech sector. Against the backdrop, let’s look at some top-performing biotech ETFs in 2021:
VanEck Biotech ETF ( BBH Quick Quote BBH - Free Report) — up 18.8% year to date
The underlying MVIS US Listed Biotech 25 Index tracks the overall performance of the companies involved in the development and production, marketing and sales of drugs based on genetic analysis and diagnostic equipment. Its AUM is $599.6 million and it has an expense ratio of 35 basis points (bps) (read:
Moderna ETFs to Rally on Two-in-One Vaccine Booster Shot News). iShares Genomics Immunology and Healthcare ETF ( IDNA Quick Quote IDNA - Free Report) — up 9.8%
This is another new entrant, which was launched in June 2019. Tracking the NYSE FactSet Global Genomics and Immuno Biopharma Index, the fund provides exposure to developed and emerging market companies that could gain from long-term growth and innovation in genomics, immunology and bioengineering. It holds a basket of 48 securities. The fund has AUM of $364.6 million and charges a fee of 47 bps. (read:
How Are Genomics ETFs Responding to Q2 Earnings?). iShares Evolved U.S. Innovative Healthcare ETF ( IEIH Quick Quote IEIH - Free Report) — up 9.5%
This actively-managed ETF employs data science techniques to identify companies with exposure to the innovative healthcare sector. The product has AUM of $42.8 million and charges 18 bps in annual fees (read:
Pharma & Healthcare ETFs at a One-Year High: Here's Why). ProShares Ultra Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF ( BIB Quick Quote BIB - Free Report) — up 9.2%
The fund seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to two times (2x) the daily performance of the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index. It has an AUM of $303.8 million and expense ratio of 95 bps (read:
Tap the Red Hot Biotech Sector With These 2 Leveraged ETFs). iShares Biotechnology ETF ( IBB Quick Quote IBB - Free Report) — up 6.7%
This fund seeks to track the investment results of an index composed of U.S.-listed equities in the biotechnology sector. IBB has an AUM of $11.03 billion with an expense ratio of 0.45% (read:
Best ETF Areas for Placing Your Bets in September).