Rock star and golf aficionado Alice Cooper once told us, as if it was not already apparent, that school is out for summer. Good news for biotechnology bulls: The same cannot be said of some big-name biotech stocks.
The “Nasdaq Biotech Index index has outperformed the broader market eight out of 10 times over the summer period (Memorial Day to Labor Day) and in 2Q/3Q, there are a number of meaningful catalysts, especially in larger cap biotech for Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NasdaqGS: VRTX), Amgen (NasdaqGS: AMGN), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NasdaqGS: REGN), Biogen (NasdaqGS: BIIB), Gilead Sciences (NasdaqGS:GILD) and Alexion (NasdaqGS: ALXN). We think the tone in the group has turned back to a bullish outlook, though the ASCO meeting (May 29-June 2) can create shorter-term volatility. With the innovation wave in SMid cap picking up momentum and with an event-rich summer for large caps, we remain positive on the biotech group overall,” according to a Barclays note posted by Barron’s.
That assessment could prove to be good news for biotech exchange traded funds, such as the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NasdaqGS: IBB), which tracks the Nasdaq Biotech Index, as well as rival funds with an emphasis on large-cap biotech names, including the Market Vectors Biotech ETF (NYSEArca: BBH). [New Highs for Biotech ETFs]
The $8.9 billion IBB, the largest biotech ETF by assets, allocates almost 38% of its combined weight to the aforementioned biotech stocks. The $804.7 million BBH, which carries a five-star Morningstar rating, allocates over 49% of its weight to Amgen, Biogen, Gilead, Alexion, Regeneron and Vertex. [A Different Type of Biotech ETF]
“We see scenarios for upside value across multiple companies we highlight Biogen and Alexion as having particularly favorable risk / reward profiles based on very defensible core businesses and very good pipeline / launch upside,” according to Barclays.