Top Performing Life Science ETFs

We take a look at the top performing ETFs in the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and life sciences market according to the ETF Database.

An exchange traded fund (ETF) tracks multiple companies in the market under one umbrella and in the life science sector, it can find and expose niche companies to potential investors looking to diversify their portfolio. 

The advantage of owning an ETF means investors “get the diversification of an index fund,” and can sell short, buy on margin and be able to purchase just one share.

INN took a look at the following top performing ETFs, year-to-date, in the life science sector on ETF Database.


This ETF was created in 2006, it tracks common stocks with biotech and small numbers on pharma. Some of its top fund holdings include Clovis Oncology (NASDAQ:CLVS) Kite Pharma (NASDAQ:KITE) and ACADIA Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ACAD). XBI has 86 holdings total.

Its index dividend yield is 0.21 percent and their weighted average market cap is $16,063.68. Since its inception, this fund has had a 16.15 percent return before taxes.

First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index Fund (NYSEARCA:FBT)

FBT was created in 2006, it currently has 30 holdings. As of February 28, its median market cap totals $6,606, while its closing share price was of $103.71.

Their top fund holdings are Kite Pharma (NASDAQ:KITE) and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALNY) and Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:RARE). This fund has made a 15.60 percent return for its net asset value since its inception.

iShares U.S. Medical Devices ETF (NYSEARCA:IHI)

This fund targets companies engaged in medical devices, IHI was created in 2006 and currently maintains 52 holdings. Its top fund holdings are Medtronic PLC (NYSE: MDT) Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) and Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO).

Its distribution yield is 0.49 percent and its weighted average market cap totals $40.37 billion. The fund’s net assets of share are $950,878,961. Since its inception in 2006 IHI has made a 10.14 percent return for its net asset value.

iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQ:IBB)

This fund concentrates in companies using biomedical research for new treatments or cures for human disease. Its top fund holdings are Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) and Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB)

IBB has 165 holdings and its weighted average market cap is of $39.28 billion. Its distribution yield is 0.17 percent. The fund’s net assets of share are $7,660,296,766. Since its inception in 2001 IBB has made a 6.47 percent return for its net asset value.

Vanguard Health Care ETF (NYSEARCA:VHT)

VHT currently keeps 359 holdings, including and top among them Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK)

This is a broad fund with health care firms from multiple varied industries in the market. Their weighted average market cap totals $94.79 billion while their distribution yield is 1.33 percent. Since its inception, VHT has made a return of 8.83 percent.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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