Weight loss drug ETF bets big on Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk

Business

New funds jump on weight loss trade

A top exchange-traded fund provider is betting on the long-term popularity of GLP-1 weight loss drugs.

Roundhill Investments’ GLP-1 & Weight Loss ETF (OZEM), which began trading last week, pairs leaders Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk with players developing new treatments for weight loss and diabetes. CEO Dave Mazza said his firm is capitalizing on explosive growth potential in the industry.

“The ability to have active management to overweight companies that are actually in market producing the drugs and then go down the line to identify those that are in particular phases is powerful,” Mazza told CNBC’s “ETF Edge” last Monday.

Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk each hold a roughly 20% weighting in the ETF, per Roundhill’s website as of Friday. The three next largest positions are Zealand Pharma, Amgen and Chugai Pharmaceutical, each of which have a weighting under 5%.

In the past year, Eli Lilly is up 90%, while Novo Nordisk has gained 68%, as of Friday’s market close. Mazza waived concerns that investors have missed out on the rally, noting the weight loss drug industry is still in its “early days.”

“The marketplace has plenty of room for growth with other companies coming in, whether they’re with more powerful drugs or with things that actually you don’t need to have an injectable.”

He also sees GLP-1 drugmakers following a similar trajectory to AI-linked stocks.

“It’s a little bit like thinking about Nvidia with AI. They just have a head start,” Mazza said. “[Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk] pivoted to focus on diabetes and weight loss drugs a few years ago, were able to get in market and produce results that are remarkable.”

After last Tuesday’s launch, shares of Roundhill’s GLP-1 & Weight Loss ETF ended the week down by almost 2%.

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