Imagine if treating a case of cancer was as simple as your body taking out the “trash,” or in other words, ridding itself of cancer-causing cells.
See, right now, several life sciences firms are hard at work perfecting a new class of drugs known as “degraders.”
As it happens, the root of many diseases lies in misguided proteins that bind together.
So, the ultimate goal of “degrader” research is to come up with a new class of drugs that activate the body’s own molecular trash disposal systems.
This is one of the most exciting breakthroughs I’ve come across in many years. I believe it brings us closer to the day when one pill can cure dozens of (if not all) diseases.
And in a moment, I’m going to reveal a way investors can target the entire class of protein degraders with one savvy move…
Confronting the Cancer Crisis (and Beyond)
Now then, this field appeals to me on a deeply personal level. In the last few years, four of my friends died of cancer way too young. They were in their 50s or early 60s.
And even worse than that, my grandmother passed away from pancreatic cancer.
I want to offer my condolences if you’ve had something similar happen to you.
Fortunately, several well-funded and publicly traded companies are working feverishly to bring protein degraders to market.
It all follows from a series of discoveries earlier this decade. Turns out, several scientists learned that some of the world’s most successful drugs piggyback off the body’s trash disposal system.
Right now, there’s an emphasis on cancer. It’s a field that includes several forms of the disease that together infect 1.7 million Americans each year.
Zion Market Research says the global cancer market is growing by more than 7% a year. From a 2015 base of $112.9 billion, by 2021 it will be worth $161.3 billion.
But that’s just for starters. Degraders can be made into pills that target a wide range of diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
No wonder drug firms are investing heavily in this field and hope to have a drug on the market in as little as three years.
Let’s start with privately held Kymera Therapeutics, which has raised $150 million from the likes of GlaxoSmithKline Plc. (NYSE: GSK) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VRTX). It specializes in using degraders to attack “undruggable” cancers.
Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ: CELG) is considered the pioneer of modern degrader tech. Its drug Revlimid is a top treatment for multiple myeloma. The drug works by getting rid of the proteins that help this cancer grow.
Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) is setting itself up to be a big player here. In May, it spent $167 million to buy a Danish firm that is working specifically on protein degraders.
Remember, this isn’t pie-in-the-sky stuff. We have several firms that are starting clinical trials.
Getting Ahead of the Curve
With a fascinating new breakthrough like this, what we’re looking for is a way to cash in without having to wait for human trials to conclude.
That way, we can start earning money today and then pocket more profits when degraders hit the market. And should a clinical trial fail, that won’t put a dent in our wallets.
That’s why I continue to recommend the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQ: IBB). This cost-effective ETF gives us broad exposure to a wide range of cutting-edge drugs already being sold around the world.
It also holds several of the firms now working on degraders. In all, we’re talking 218 stocks. Take a look at a few of its top holdings:
- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) is a major biopharma firm with six drugs on the market. One targets squamous cell skin cancer.
- Incyte Corp. (NASDAQ: INCY) specializes in cancer. It focuses on immuno-oncology, or using the body’s immune system to help destroy disease.
- Seattle Genetics Inc. (NASDAQ: SGEN) uses antibodies to target cancerous tumor cells. This approach is similar to traditional chemotherapy, but is a great improvement because its compound leaves healthy cells alone.
- NovoCure Ltd. (NASDAQ: NVCR) has a completely unique cancer therapy that has begun to gain traction. It uses electric fields tuned to specific frequencies to disrupt cell growth, causing cancer cells to die.
So, along with getting in on the exciting discoveries and possibilities that degraders offer, IBB is a great way to get a piece of all the other exciting action that is happening in the biotech sector.
And the best part is, with companies like this making up the ETF, you don’t have to pick and choose the winners.
The fund managers do all the heavy lifting. That means we can sit back, relax, and watch the profits roll in for years to come.
— Michael A. Robinson
Source: Money Morning