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Why Cancer-Fighting Stocks & ETFs Are Soaring

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In this episode of ETF Spotlight, I speak with Brad Loncar, CEO of Loncar Investments. Brad is in Chicago to attend the annual meeting of ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology). It is the world’s largest and most prestigious cancer conference where participants learn about the latest developments in treating the disease.

Brad explains why ASCO is so important and how he uses it as an investor. He says Amgen (AMGN - Free Report) is the most exciting large biotech company this year at ASCO with two very promising therapies--BiTE and KRAS.

The global market for cancer drugs is estimated to be about $123 billion and big players are investing heavily to gain an edge in this increasingly competitive market.  Pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers (BMY - Free Report) , a pioneer in immunotherapy, is acquiring rival Celgene (CELG - Free Report) for $74 billion.

Merck (MRK - Free Report) is acquiring cancer drug developer Peloton Therapeutics for $1.05 billion. The announcement came as Peloton was preparing for its IPO. Earlier this year, Eli Lilly (LLY - Free Report) bought Loxo Oncology for $8 billion.

Should we expect more M&A in the space?

Brad created the index for the Loncar Cancer Immunotherapy ETF (CNCR - Free Report) , which invests in companies at the forefront of immunotherapy research.  He explains why immunotherapy, which harnesses the body’s immune system to fight cancer, is often called a game changer for cancer treatment.

He also talks about important developments in the space and promising work being done by some smaller, innovative biotech companies.

Mirati Therapeutics (MRTX - Free Report) , Iovance Biotherapeutics (formerly Lion Biotechnologies) (IOVA - Free Report) and Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR - Free Report) are soaring today. These are among the top holdings in CNCR. Find out more about them on the podcast.

WSJ recently reported that AstraZeneca (AZN - Free Report) is planning to target early stages of the disease, whereas traditionally, pharma companies focus on drugs that treat advanced forms of cancer. Will the new approach help AstraZeneca gain an edge over competitors?

Health Care is the worst performing sector this year, thanks mainly to policy concerns. Will there be a big focus on policy related issues at the conference?

Tune into the podcast to learn more.

Brad also created the index for the Loncar China BioPharma ETF (CHNA - Free Report) which focuses on the booming biopharma industry in China. To learn more about these ETFs, please visit loncarfunds.com.

Please also visit the Cancer Research Institute to learn about this cancer treatment and clinical trials.

Make sure to be on the lookout for the next edition of ETF Spotlight! If you have any comments or questions, please email podcast@zacks.com.

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