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Biotech ETFs Soar on Gilead-Kite Deal

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Gilead Sciences (GILD - Free Report) showered gains on the biotech ETF world on August 28 by announcing the buyout news of Kite Pharma KITE for $11.9 billion. GILD shares gained over 1.2% while KITE shares surged about 28% on the day, responding to the super deal.

Kite Pharma is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, focused on the development and commercialization of cancer immunotherapy products. The company is developing a pipeline of eACT-based product candidates for the treatment of solid and hematological malignancies.

The deal marks Gilead Sciences’ biggest deal for a new cancer treatment that will help the company to look away from its receding sales of medicines for hepatitis C infections and focus on some budding zones. Gilead said it will be a $180 per share all-cash deal.

With this, Gilead will step into the new arena of oncology treatment – known as CAR-T – which targets the body’s own immune system to fight tumors. As per the source, Kite “doesn’t have a treatment on the market yet, is awaiting U.S. approval for a drug for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.”

Since Gilead is yet to see prodigious success itself in cancer research, it had to go for an inorganic expansion to establish its presence in this apparently most-wanted area. Needless to say, this megadeal acted as a cornerstone for the entire biotech space (read: Stocks to Fight Cancer: Why Immunotherapy Is a Gamechanger).

Inside the Participant Stocks  

Gilead has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) with VGM (Value-Growth-Momentum) score of C. On the other hand, Kite Pharma has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) with a VGM score of F, at the time of writing.

In this situation, targeting a basket or ETF approach would be more intriguing than single stock pick plays. First, through ETF ways, investors get to play the overall evolvement of the biotech space and certain downbeat VGM scores of GILD and KITE would not come in the way of investors’ optimism.

After all, immune-oncology is expected to rule the next-era biotech trading. Like yesterday, biotech stocks saw some great trading about two months ago, when Clovis Oncology CLVS shares gained about 46.5% following the company’s positive cancer drug data (read: 4 Stocks & ETFs to Buy on Clovis' Positive Drug Data).

ETF Impact

Kite Pharma has weights in the range of 4.5% to 6% in funds like ALPS Medical Breakthroughs ETF SBIO, ARK Genomic Revolution Multi-Sector ETF ARKG, Loncar Cancer Immunotherapy ETF CNCR and PowerShares Dynamic Biotechnology and Genome PBE. The funds gained about 3.8%, 5.3%, 6.2% and 2.5%, respectively, on August 28, 2017. Biotech ETFs like ARKG, Bioshares Biotech Clinical Trial BBC (up 4.0%) also hit a 52-week high (see all healthcare ETFs here).

Investors should note that Gilead Sciences has a considerable focus (in the range of 8% to 10%) on VanEck Vectors Biotech ETF BBH and iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF IBB, which obviously got a spike from the said acquisition news. BBH and IBB were up 1% and 1.9%, respectively, on August 28.

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