Life Science Mutual Funds Compared to ETFs

We have written about Life Science Funds vs ETFs in our past articles.  Life science funds have been in a bear market since the recent peak in Q3 2021. The period from 4/20 through 2/21 were good years for biotech and medtech driven by innovation needs to combat the pandemic with huge demand for vaccines, therapies and clinical tests needed to fight COVID. The XLV has been flat since Q4 2021 whereas the IBB peaked in Q3 2021 with substantial losses off the 2021 peak  But the XLV has been in recovery mode since 11/23.

  • The IBB gained 32.74% over the past 5 years.
  • The XLV gained 61.84% over the past 5 years but has been relatively flat since Q4 2021.
  • The QQQ gained 51.67% over I year and 153.95% over 5 years!

The easy gains in biotech were made from the financial crisis in 2009 thru Q3 2015.

Here are a few of our previous posts on the subject:

Stay tuned for PART II after the JPM Healthcare Meeting this week.


Need to check performance because of data sources.

FUND Ticker P 1/6/24 1 yr 5yr % Top Holdings
Fidelity Sel Biotech FBIOX 17.93 13.1 (10.31) ABBV, AMGN, KRYS, REGN, VRTX, BIB, ALNY.
Fidelity,Sel Medtech FSMEX 60.41 (1.76) 25.33 TMO,BSX, DHR, SYK, PEN,ISRG, ABT
Janue Henderson,LifeSci JFNAX 68.37 5.95 30 UNH, LLY, AZN, NOVO, SAN.PA, MRK,ABBV
T.Rowe Price Hlth Sci PRHSX 88.33 3.08 11.5 UNH, LLY, TMO, REGN, MRK,ISRG ,ELV
Black Rock Hlth Sci SHSAX 66.42 2.99 21.32 UNH, LLY, BSX, MRK, TSTXX, ABBV, AMGN
Healthcare Select SPDR XLV 139.12 3.49 61.84 UNH, LLY, JNJ, MRK, ABBV, TMO, ABT
iShares Biotech IBB 136.12 3.26 32.74 VRTX, AMGN, REGN, GILD, IQV, BIIB, MRNA
SPDR S&P Biotech XBI 89.3 8.22 19.03 CYTK, KRTX, ACAD, BHVN, FOLD–equal wt

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