Prepping For Another Wave Of Biotech M&A

MarketsETF Trends

Believe it or not, the last couple of years have been quiet on the deal-making front in the biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Combined mergers and acquisitions among biotechnology and pharmaceuticals firms for 2016 and 2017 was just $106 billion, or half the $212 billion seen in 2015, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Good news: Biotech mergers and acquisitions activity is heating up early in 2018. On Jan. 22 alone, French pharma giant Sanofi and U.S. biotech titan Celgene spent a combined $20.6 billion to acquire Bioverativ (Sanofi’s buy) and Juno Therapeutics. Celegene is paying $9 billion to acquire the 90% of Juno it did not already own.

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More goods news: Investors are not late to playing the biotech takeover theme and that theme is easily accessible via the ALPS Medical Breakthroughs ETF (SBIO).

Sometimes, Different Is Better

The word “different” often carries a negative connotation in the world of investing. It does not need to and SBIO proves as much. Consider different as it applies to biotech indexes. The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index is  a market-value-weighted benchmark while the S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index is an equal-weighted..

Last year, those widely followed biotech benchmarks returned an average of 32.5%. Sure, the S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index rose 43.8%, but that still trailed the more than 44% returned by SBIO. SBIO delivered that out-performance with comparable volatility to the S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index. SBIO thumped the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index by a better than 2-to-1 margin.

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