ETF Strategies to Tap into Medical Breakthroughs, Healthcare Innovations

The election year and the coronavirus has highlighted the importance of an adaptive health industry that meets up with quickly changing times. Investors can also tap into this evolution in healthcare through targeted exchange traded fund strategies to capture this shifting opportunity.

“The 2020 election has illuminated the growth potential within digital health, immunotherapy, and genomics that could be accelerated by the pandemic,” Jeff Spiegel, Head of U.S. iShares Megatrend and International ETFs, said in a research note. “For equity investors, the election offers a chance to reevaluate their healthcare exposure to help ensure that their positions reflect the most relevant, long-term themes and that their holdings do not fail to capture the potential cross-sector opportunities available with increased virtualization.”

Looking ahead, the market for digital health technologies is expected to expand as more people shift toward virtual work and life due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, attitudes toward healthcare regulations continue to relax irrespective of the U.S. election outcome.

Sub-sectors like immunotherapy and genomics are quickly developing as the search for an effective COVID-19 treatment and vaccine accelerates the development of RNA therapeutics and personalized medicine.

We are also witnessing new developments in regulatory, technological, and scientific advancements that have produced innovations across the fields of telehealth, mobile healthcare applications, immunotherapy, and genomics. Consequently, Spiegel argued that investors might want to consider a megatrends approach, over a sector approach, that can offer broad, thematic exposure to multi-sector themes.

For example, the iShares Virtual Work and Life Multisector ETF (NYSE: IWFH) tracks the NYSE FactSet Global Virtual Work and Life Index, an index of developed and emerging market companies that provide products, services, and technologies that empower individuals to work remotely and support an increasingly virtual way of life.

The iShares Genomics Immunology and Healthcare ETF (IDNA) targets exposure to companies worldwide at the forefront of medical revolutions in the rapidly expanding fields of molecular biology and mapping of genomes, and immunology.

iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) has been a go-to play for broad biotechnology exposure. The ETF tracks the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index, which contains securities of companies listed on NASDAQ that are classified according to the Industry Classification Benchmark as either biotechnology or pharmaceuticals and that also meet other eligibility criteria determined by Nasdaq, Inc.

Lastly, the iShares U.S. Tech Breakthrough Multisector ETF (TECB) tries to reflect the performance of the NYSE FactSet U.S. Tech Breakthrough Index, which is composed of U.S. companies that could benefit from various breakthrough technologies, including robotics and artificial intelligence, cloud and data tech, cybersecurity, genomics and immunology, and financial technology.