The biotech industry, and the exchange traded funds (ETFs) that track them have had a strong year. The SPDR S&P Biotech Fund (XBI) was up 11.2% last month, reports Joanne Von Alroth for Investor’s Business Daily. Other Biotech ETFs include iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology (IBB), up 10% over the last month; Biotech HOLDRs (BBH) with a 6% gain; and PowerShares Dynamic Biotech and Genome (PBE), also up 10%.

Pharmaceutical companies rely largely on biotech for their R&D while they search out new drugs and treatments. With all the "blockbuster" drugs going off market lately, the scurry to find new ones has begun. U.S. R&D spending last year was $23 billion, with 82% of the amount spent by similar companies around the world.


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