The last piece of news from iBio (NYSEMKT:IBIO) was the June 26 press release letting investors know that IBIO stock had been added to the Russell 2000 and Russell 3000 indexes as part of FTSE Russell’s annual reconstitution process.
The company’s shareholders are undoubtedly hoping that its addition to the Russell 1000 isn’t too far away. However, for now, this will have to do.
Who’s Betting on IBIO Stock
In my last article about the company in late May, I wrote about the relationship between iBio and Lincoln Park Capital, a Chicago-based investment firm. To this day, I know very little about the organization. And frankly, given all the speculation driving biotechs these days, I don’t care to know.
As my late father-in-law used to say when my wife and I first started dating: “I’ve seen so many come, and so many go, I’m not going to bother learning his name until I know he’s sticking around.”
That man had some fantastic one-liners; I miss him immensely. But I digress.
The reason I mentioned iBio’s addition to the indexes is that it shows how little investors know about what’s happening behind the scenes at iBio’s vaccine central. There’s a shortage of information available.
Navellier Likes Its Chances
Sure, my InvestorPlace colleague, Louis Navellier, had a bunch to say recently about the company’s lichenase booster molecule, or LicKM for short. It could be the pathway to a single-dose novel coronavirus vaccine.
At this point of the conversation, you offer to sell me Florida swampland, because if I’m buying iBio based on something sounding weirdly similar to Lik-M-Aid, the candy I devoured as a kid, I deserve to be taken to the cleaners.
Navellier’s been writing about stocks a lot longer than I have, so I’m confident he’s done his homework. However, I’m also convinced that I have no possible way of confirming whether this is a home run or foul ball behind home plate.
A margin of safety is always in the back of my mind.
If you told me that I could only invest in one vaccine candidate’s stock, iBio would not be it. Probably not even in the top five. But, I’m also willing to admit that my understanding of biotechnology is only slightly better than my comfort discussing quantum physics.
All I really know about Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) is that its executives are making out like bandits — CEO Stéphane Bancel has sold over $21 million since January and Tal Zaks, its chief medical officer, has sold more, netting $35 million in 2020 — but beyond that, the company, like iBio, is in a race against time. Maybe it wins, maybe it doesn’t.
It sounds a lot like Vegas to me.
One thing I did mention in my last article about iBio is that unless you’re a speculator, you’ve got safer options.
“[A]s I said in March, unless you know a lot about health care, you’re wiser to put any bet you make on something like Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) or Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), whose entire future isn’t tied up in the vaccine’s success or failure,” I wrote May 27.
A Safer Option
Nothing’s changed in that regard, which is why I believe you might want to consider investing in the ETFMG Treatments Testing and Advancements ETF (NYSEARCA:GERM), a fund that tracks the performance of the Prime Treatments, Testing and Advancements Index, a passive index of U-S.-listed companies involved in R&D, vaccines, therapies and testing technologies.
The ETF itself only launched in mid-June. It’s from the same people who brought investors the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSEARCA:MJ), a fund focused on the cannabis industry.
At 0.68%, GERM’s management expense ratio isn’t cheap, but it gets the job done, which is to lay down a bet on Covid-19.
The fund’s top three holdings are Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALNY), and Moderna, weighted at 6.95%, 5.85%, and 4.95%, respectively. Ibio’s farther down the 56 holdings with a weighting of just 0.40%.
However, by eliminating the company-specific risk, you give yourself a much better chance of benefiting from a vaccine solution.
But, as I said earlier, I’m never going to be confused with Dr. Fauci.
Will Ashworth has written about investments full-time since 2008. Publications where he’s appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and several others in both the U.S. and Canada. He particularly enjoys creating model portfolios that stand the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At the time of this writing Will Ashworth did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.