There’s an opportunity for investors in pharmaceuticals that’s been “underrepresented for a very long time,” according to fund manager Philip Ripman of Storebrand Asset Management. The area is women’s healthcare, according to Ripman, who manages the $1 billion Storebrand Global Solutions fund. “Within the portfolio, the aspect that we’ve really focused in on is female health care. It’s one of the areas that has been both under-researched and underrepresented for a very long time,” he told Pro Talks last week. According to a Mckinsey report last year , beyond breast cancer, female health conditions attracted just 1% of pharmaceutical research funding in 2020. In medical tech funding, only 2% was focused on non-cancer-related women’s health conditions. Many studies had been done “from a man’s perspective,” said Ripman, adding that this is now changing. “I think a lot of the new business models coming through in this sense are interesting,” he said. “What we want to see is more focus on the female healthcare side within the portfolio.” The area of femtech — or software and tech products relating to women’s health — is certainly growing. In 2021, venture capital investment in femtech surpassed $2 billion for the first time, according to Pitchbook, which expects it to reach $3 billion by 2030. Stocks to consider Within Ripman’s fund, which has a focus on sustainability, there are a number of stocks that play into this theme. They include Hologic , a U.S.-based medtech company with a focus on women’s health, American medtech firm Becton Dickinson , and Europe-based pharmaceutical firm Gedeon Richter, which has women’s healthcare as one of its areas of expertise. According to FactSet data, analysts give Hologic average potential upside of 14%, although only 35% of those covering it have a buy rating on the stock. Becton Dickinson also received around 14% potential upside from analysts, and 65% of them give it a buy rating. The Storebrand Global Solutions fund invests across four themes : smart cities, circular economy, equal opportunities and renewable energy. The fund’s principle is to avoid companies that make over 5% of their revenues from fossil fuels, tobacco, alcohol, war and other vice-related activities. The strategy appears to have paid off over the long term: it ranks top for 10-year annualized returns (15%) on Morningstar’s list of global mega-cap equity funds.
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