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A Comprehensive Guide to Genomic ETFs

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The gene therapeutics space is witnessing growth worldwide amid a surge in several types of genetic disorders like hemophilia and thalassemia. Genome editing is a technique to alter or modify the DNA of a cell or an organism. It uses an enzyme to cut the DNA in a particular sequence, after which it is repaired by the cell, making a change to the sequence, per verified sources. Resultantly, the characteristics of a cell or an organism are altered.

This revolutionary technique is supporting scientists across the world to study in depth some unimaginable biological concepts like creating a gene-edited human baby or a human-animal hybrid embryo or curing diabetes and obesity by making some changes to the DNA.

Genomic-Editing Market Prospects Look Bright

According to analysts, growing demand for personalized medicine, solid investments and the rising per capita income; improving infrastructure and accessibility of health-care systems and therapies; rising affordability of advanced testing facilities & organizations, and higher R&D activities will soon make genomics the next big thing in the investing space.

The genomic-editing space came under the spotlight with the release of encouraging data from the first-ever human study assessing an in vivo CRISPR-based gene-editing therapy candidate NTLA-2001. Notably, CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats)/Cas9 is a very efficient and fast technique to edit genomes.

Per a Zion Market Research report, CRISPR enables to get selected agricultural features by shifting the DNA from the crop's own naturally-occurring genetic variants. According to the same report, CRISPR genome-editing market is expected to witness a CAGR of around 29.5% between 2022 and 2028. Moreover, the North America region is projected to dominate the CRISPR gene-editing market.

A rise in the utilization of CRISPR genome-editing technology is observed in the diagnostics space. Amid the pandemic, CRISPR-based novel diagnostic tools developed to mitigate the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have created new opportunities.

A MarketsandMarkets report also highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic added opportunities to the space. The global health emergency started a race among major players in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and the genomic market to invest in the R&D of coronavirus vaccines. Thus, the surge in demand for vaccines and the potential antiviral candidates made genome-editing technologies grab attention.

Key Players in the Gene-Editing Space

Companies, such as Editas Medicine EDIT, CRISPR Therapeutics CRSP and Beam Therapeutics BEAM, are using the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to develop their respective candidates for addressing various ailments. Exa-cel is CRISPR Therapeutics’ lead product candidate, currently being evaluated in two separate phase III studies, namely CLIMB THAL-111 and CLIMB SCD-121. It is currently being developed to treat transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia (TDT) and sickle cell disease (SCD) in collaboration with Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The regulatory submission for the therapy to address both indications is anticipated in late 2022.

Other than CRISPR Therapeutics, Editas Medicine is a development-stage genome editing biotech, which makes medicines to treat serious diseases using its proprietary genome editing platform based on the unique CRISPR technology. Editas is making good progress with the development of its lead candidate EDIT-101 to treat Leber congenital amaurosis type 10 (LCA10), a genetic illness that causes blindness.

A Thorough Guide to Genomic ETFs

Considering the increasing applications of gene-editing, it seems a rising market with endless opportunities. In fact, going by a Global Market Insights report, the global gene-editing market, valued at $5.5-billion in 2021, is expected to reach $20 billion by 2030, seeing a CAGR of 15.5%.

Here we highlight a host of ETFs that investors can keep tabs on:

Invesco Dynamic Biotechnology & Genome ETF PBE

PBE follows the Dynamic Biotech & Genome Intellidex Index. The index comprises companies majorly engaged in research, development, manufacturing and marketing plus distribution of various biotechnological products, services and processes and companies that gain significantly from scientific and technological advances in biotechnology, and genetic engineering and research. PBE holds 31 stocks in its basket. It managed $217.4 million in its asset base. Expense ratio is 0.59%.

ARK Genomic Revolution ETF ARKG

This is an actively-managed ETF focusing on companies likely to benefit from the extension and enhancement of the quality of human and other life by incorporating technological and scientific developments plus improvements and advancements in genomics into their business. ARKG holds 30-50 stocks in its basket. The fund charges 0.75% as an expense ratio. ARKG accumulated $2.36 billion in its asset base.

Global X Genomics & Biotechnology ETF GNOM

This is a new entrant in the space, having accumulated $169.3 million since its inception on Apr 5, 2019. GNOM seeks to invest in companies that stand to benefit from advancements in the field of genomic science, such as companies involved in gene editing, genomic sequencing, genetic medicine/therapy, computational genomics and biotechnology. The product follows the Solactive Genomics Index, charging 50 bps as annual fees. GNOM holds 40 stocks in its basket.

iShares Genomics Immunology and Healthcare ETF IDNA

This is another new entrant, launched in June 2019. Tracking the NYSE FactSet Global Genomics and Immuno Biopharma Index, IDNA provides exposure to developed and emerging market companies that could gain from long-term growth and innovation in genomics, immunology and bioengineering. It holds a basket of 41 securities. IDNA has an AUM of $178.3 million and charges a fee of 47 basis points.



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