Biotech, Pharma ETFs Leave Pricing Drama Behind

Biotechnology and pharmaceutical ETFs have rallied in recent weeks as drug pricing concerns wane and investors look to the opportunity of this market segment.

The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQGM: IBB), the largest biotechnology exchange traded fund by assets, rose 14.2% over the past month while the PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals Portfolio (NYSEArca: PJP), the largest pharma-related ETF, gained 6.9%.

ETF traders who are betting big on the biotechnology sector rebound have also utilized leveraged long options including the Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull Shares (NYSEArca: LABU), which takes the 3x or 300% daily performance of the S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index.

Other options include the ProShares UltraPro Nasdaq Biotechnology (NasdaqGM: UBIO), which takes the 3x daily performance of the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, and the ProShares Ultra Nasdaq Biotechnology (NasdaqGM: BIB), which takes the 2x performance of the same benchmark.

Fueling the recent momentum, the return of large acquisitions has helped the rally, with Gilead Sciences acquiring cancer specialist Kite Pharma late August, reports Charley Grant for the Wall Street Journal.