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Rating:Genomics Revolution Spurs New Fund Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, July 27, 1999

Genomics Revolution Spurs New Fund

Reported by Hayley Green

The Orbitex Group of Funds announced the launch of the Orbitex Health & Biotechnology Fund which became available on July 12.

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  • Orbitex Group of Funds
  • "Healthcare has been underperforming for about nine months," said Timothy Bepler, the fund's portfolio manager. "The stocks have been heavily discounted making it an opportune time to enter the market."

    The fund will invest 50% in biotechnology, 25% in pharmaceuticals and 25% in non-traditional services, Bepler said. Traditional health services include HMOs and hospitals but he said the fund is going to look for niche players such as Internet health care companies.

    Bepler explained that the reason for the fund's heavy weighting in biotechnology is the "Genomics Revolution", spurred by the Human Genome Project, an international effort begun in 1990 to analyze and sequence the entire human genome.

    A genome is an organism's full DNA sequence and genomics is the study thereof. The full mapping of the human genome means that scientists will gain a much more detailed understanding of the molecular basis of disease. For example, scientists could learn how cancerous cells differ from genes for healthy cells enabling them to design drugs that block the cancer or repair the genetic damage.

    Bepler said because of these advancements a huge wave of drugs will emerge. "The initial wave is already hitting the market but in the medium term there will be many more," he said. The fund holds large positions in Bristol-Myers, Medimmune and Enzon.

    The fund has an expense ratio capped at 2% for A shares and 2.06% for B shares. Orbitex has selling agreements with intermediaries such as American Keegan, American Frontier and Paine Webber. The funds are marketed through a wholesaling network nation-wide.  

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