Betting On Biotechnology

Biotech funds may have a bright future ahead in spite of a down 2001

funds to dig up biotech portfolios. One caveat: the Chicago-based company’s stats show 15 funds out on the market, most of which are less than 3-years-old.

Our chart shows five funds meeting that criterion, including two-Fidelity Select Biotech (FBIOX) and Monterey Murphy New World Biotech (MNWBX), which have made it past the five-year milestone. Ranking the biotech bunch according to the three-year total returns shows one clear winner, the Dresdner RCM Biotechnology Fund (DRBNX). Dresdner’s portfolio leads with an average return of 48.6% for the three years ending November 30, 2001. The fund’s management has typically steered its portfolio toward medium- and small-sized companies in the group, a strategy that can yield quick, large gains, but at the same time opens investors to greater risks. An interesting alternative to Dresdner is the granddad of the biotech mutual fund group, the Fidelity Select Biotech Fund. Fidelity’s offering has been on the market since 1985 and tends to carry shares of larger industry names such as Amgen and Immunex. It has averaged an annual total return of almost 29% for the three years ending November 30, 2001.

Top 5 Biotech Mutual Funds

Fund Name (Ticker)

YTD*

1-Year Ann.
Total Return*

3-Year Ann.
Total Return*

5-Year Ann.
Total Return*

Toll-Free
Number

Minimum
Initial Investment

Dresdner RCM Biotechnology N (DRBNX)

-22.76%

-15.01%

48.6%

N/A

800-726-7240

$ 5,000

Rydex Biotechnology Adv (RYOAX)

-12.47

-7.44

37.66

N/A

800-820-0888

10,000

Franklin Biotech Discovery A (FBDIX)

-21.73

-17.00

33.9

N/A

800-342-5236

1,000

Fidelity Sel Biotechnology (FBIOX)

-20.01

-13.82

28.96

24.65

800-544-8888

2,500

Monterey Murphy New World Biotech (MNWBX)

-16.25

-10.99

19.16

8.5

800-628-9403

1,000

*AS OF NOVEMBER 30, 2001 SOURCE: MORNINGSTAR INC.

 

 

 

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