U.S. President Joe Biden may have said in a recent “60 Minutes” interview that the pandemic is over, but the fact is, just under 400 Americans are still dying of COVID-19 each day. That number is far below the number of daily fatalities recorded during the January 2021 peak, where 3,400 Americans died of COVID-19.1
Still, the seven-day average daily deaths of around 375 per day is well above the 200 deaths per day that occurred in the spring. The stubbornly higher death rate, coupled with the potential threat of a resurgence of COVID-19, has fuelled the call for Americans to get vaccinated (or boosted) as we head into the autumn and winter months.
To that end, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized COVID-19 booster shots that target the omicron BA.5 variant. This is the first time the FDA has authorized an updated vaccine formula since the shots started in December 2020.
The U.S. has so far secured 171 million doses of Moderna’s and Pfizer’s updated shots. Moderna’s updated vaccine is authorized for adults ages 18 and older while Pfizer’s new booster is authorized for people ages 12 and older.
Eli Lilly & Co. Fast Tracking New Drug
Eli Lilly & Co. announced it was granted Fast Track designation for tirzepatide, a drug designed to treat adults with obesity or overweight with weight-related comorbidities. The FDA grants Fast Track designation in order to expediate the review of drugs to treat serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need. The goal is to get new drugs to patients as quickly as possible.2
The company expects to initiate a rolling submission of a new drug application (NDA) for tirzepatide this year. The rolling submission, which is expected to complete by the end of April 2023, allows Eli Lilly to submit completed sections of an application for review by the FDA, rather than wait until all sections are completed.
Zoetis Inc Acquiring Health Companies
Zoetis Inc has recently announced a number of strategic acquisitions. In late September, it completed the acquisition of Jurox, a privately held animal health company that develops, manufactures and markets veterinary medicine for treating livestock and companion animals.3
In early September, Zoetis acquired NewMetrica, a Scotland-based company that has developed digital instruments that are designed to measure the health-related quality of life in non-verbal species as a strategic addition to their companion animal portfolio.4
For example, the company’s VetMetrica measures how an animal “feels” about its circumstances from its individual perspective.
The benefits of NewMetrica’s digital instruments have been validated through scientific publications and the U.S. FDA.
Investing in Global Healthcare with LIFE ETF
One way to simplify investing in the cutting-edge healthcare industry is through an ETF. A healthcare ETF offers a diversified portfolio of holdings in healthcare stocks. ETFs ensure that your risk is diversified, but that you are still invested in blue-chip names that you trust.
Evolve Global Healthcare Enhanced Yield Fund (LIFE ETF) provides investors with exposure to twenty global blue-chip companies in the healthcare industry, with a covered call strategy that is actively managed to provide increased yield potential while helping mitigate risk. LIFE ETF is available in hedged, unhedged and USD classes, as well as mutual fund versions.
LIFE ETF PORTFOLIO STRATEGY AND ACTIVITY
For the month, Eli Lilly & Co. made the largest contribution to the Fund, followed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, and Merck & Co. Inc. The largest detractors to performance for the month were Medtronic PLC, followed by CSL LTD, and AstraZeneca PLC. By weight, the Fund’s largest geographic exposure was to the United States, followed by Switzerland and Germany.
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- Kimball, S., “FDA authorizes Covid booster shots that target omicron BA.5 variant,” CNBC, August 31, 2022; https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/31/fda-authorizes-covid-booster-shots-that-target-omicron-bapoint5-variant-.html.
- “Lilly receives U.S. FDA Fast Track designation for tirzepatide for the treatment of adults with obesity, or overweight with weight-related comorbidities,” Eli Lilly and Company, October 6, 2022; https://investor.lilly.com/news-releases/news-release-details/lilly-receives-us-fda-fast-track-designation-tirzepatide.
- “Zoetis Announces the Completion of its Acquisition of Jurox, a Leading Provider of Livestock and Companion Animal Products,” Zoetis Inc., September 30, 2022; https://news.zoetis.com/press-releases/press-release-details/2022/Zoetis-Announces-the-Completion-of-its-Acquisition-of-Jurox-a-Leading-Provider-of-Livestock-and-Companion-Animal-Products/default.aspx.
- “Zoetis Acquires Newmetrica, Adding Health-related Quality of Life Instruments to Companion Animal Portfolio,” Zoetis Inc., September 6, 2022; https://news.zoetis.com/press-releases/press-release-details/2022/Zoetis-acquires-NewMetrica–adding-health-related-quality-of-life-instruments-to-companion-animal-portfolio/default.aspx.