ETF Trends
ETF Trends

With the advancements in biotechnology generating some attractive investment opportunities, exchange traded fund investors may now focus on a group of companies that specialize in the growing field of cancer immunotheraphy.

The Loncar Cancer Immunotheraphy ETF (NasdaqGM: CNCR) began trading Wednesday, October 14, according to a press release. CNCR has a 0.79% expense ratio.

“Immunotherapy is changing the way many cancers are being treated,” Brad Loncar, Chief Executive Officer of Loncar Investments, said in the press release. “This innovative field within biotechnology is expected to become the foundational treatment for cancer over the next ten years. We think it is important to give investors a benchmark to track the progress of this growing biotechnology sector, which over time will likely continue to have a positive impact on society.”

CNCR tries to reflect the performance of the Loncar Cancer Immunotherapy Index, which was developed by biotechnology investor Brad Loncar. The underlying index tracks large pharmaceutical and growth-oriented biotechnology companies in the cancer treatment space. Specifically, the index tracks companies that are developing new classes of therapies, like checkpoint inhibitors, next generation vaccines and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technologies.

“Biotech stocks tend to get grouped together as a whole, yet areas like immunotherapy trade on their own unique circumstances and innovations,” according to Loncar Investments. “While traditional medicines like chemotherapies often give cancer a broad punch, the benefit of using immunotherapy is derived from the immune system’s dynamic nature and the way it can more precisely be tailored to fight a patient’s disease.”

The underlying index first selects seven top large pharmaceutical companies working on immunotherapy for their strategic focus on cancer treatment and their leadership role in the field. Additionally, the index picks the top 23 growth biotechnology companies in immunotherapy by market capitalization. The cancer index is then equally weighted.

The index also screens companies for a number of factors, including drugs approved by either the FDA or EMA that to harness the immune system to fight cancer, drugs in the human stage of testing that harnesses the immune system, intentions to begin human stage testing of a drug that harnesses the immune system to fight cancer, or announcement of an immunotherapy collaboration or partnership with a major pharmaceutical company.

Top holdings include Ziopharm Oncology (NasdaqGS: ZIOP) 4.9%, Kite Pharma (NasdaqGS: KITE) 4.7%, Celgene (NasdaqGS: CELG) 4.7%, Pfizer (NasdaqGS: PFE) 4.5% and Bristol Myers (NasdaqGS: BMY) 4.4%.

“The Loncar Cancer Immunotherapy ETF allows investors to participate in the breakthrough in this well-defined sector in a diversified way,” J. Garrett Stevens, CEO of Exchange Traded Concepts, said in the press release.

A cancer-themed ETF is not new to the ETF industry. Previously, ETF investors could tap into this segment of the biotech industry through the HealthShares Cancer ETF (HHK), but the fund closed in 2008. Additionally, XShares, the fund provider of the HealthShares line, was sold to a unit of Deutsche Bank in 2010.

For more information on new fund products, visit our new ETFs category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.