By their standards, biotechnology exchange traded funds have been quiet in recent weeks, though the obituaries written on these ETFs by some biotech bears have proven unwarranted.
Since reaching all-time highs on March 20, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NasdaqGS: IBB), the largest biotech ETF, is off just 1.3% while the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSEArca: XBI) has traded modestly higher.
Although it is a stretch to say IBB’s recent retrenchment is a legitimate dip, the fund’s modest pullback could be an opportunity for investors to initiate new positions with biotech ETFs. After all, every IBB dip for more than six years has been bought. Investors also have the opportunity to consider “new breed” biotech ETFs, including the BioShares Biotechnology Products Fund (NasdaqGM: BBP) and the BioShares Biotechnology Clinical Trials Fund (NasdaqGM: BBC). [Two Unique Boitech ETFs Debut]
BBC and BBP, which debuted in December, are up 21.3% and 18.6%, respectively, over the past 90 days, placing the pair among the best-performing industry ETFs over that period. Paul Yook, portfolio manager at BioShares Funds, sees favorable catalysts ahead for biotech ETFs.
“The torrid pace of biotech equity offerings has not slowed. After big up moves in stocks, companies are hitting the equity markets asap and in most cases for successfully,” said Yook in an email exchange with ETF Trends.
Yook notes that over $2 billion in biotech equity offerings in January was followed by similar amounts in February and March. First-quarter biotech offerings include those from Dyax Corp. (NasdaqGS: DYAX), Retrophin (NasdaqGS: RTRX), Esperion Therapeutics (NasdaqGS: ESPR) and ZS Pharma (NasdaqGS: ZSPH).
Dyax, which earlier this month surged after the Massachusetts-based company said an early stage trial of its treatment for hereditary angioedema proved safe for use and effective in reducing extreme swelling attacks, is BBP’s second-largest holding at 5% of that ETF’s weight. [These ETFs Will Like the Dyax News]