Nearly 10% of the world’s population suffers from some form of diabetes. The condition, which affects both children and adults, accounts for roughly 12% of the world’s entire health expenditure, and is expected to reach a total cost of $2.5 trillion within the next 10 years. While there is no cure for diabetes, hundreds of millions of people around the world are able to live normal lives despite the condition, thanks to medical and technological solutions.
eToro’s Diabetes-Med Portfolio looks into the challenges in the fight against diabetes and the investment opportunities it presents.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is the name for several medical conditions, all of which relate to the production or processing of insulin. In general, there are two types of diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes: This form of the disease has a genetic, hereditary factor. Therefore, it is usually diagnosed in children and teens. With type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin, therefore, those who suffer from this type need to take insulin externally on a regular basis.
- Type 2 Diabetes: As opposed to type 1, this type of diabetes has to do with the way a person’s body processes insulin. It is not congenital, and is often associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. Ninety percent of all diabetes cases are type 2. While in the past, it was mostly diagnosed in older people, it is becoming an increasingly younger problem, as unhealthy lifestyles and obesity afflict larger parts of the world’s population.
How is Diabetes Treated?
The lack of insulin associated with both types of diabetes can lead to numerous, dangerous health conditions. Among the more common problems with serious diabetes cases are heart and kidney issues, strokes and blindness. To live with diabetes, patients must introduce insulin into their bodies from an external source. To date, there is still no effective way to produce insulin that can be taken in pill form, and, therefore, the most common ways to administer insulin are:
- Insulin Pens: These “pens” are essentially compact syringes, which patients use to inject insulin into their bodies.
- Insulin Pumps: These medical devices administer measured doses of insulin at predetermined times, using a fixed hypodermic needle.
- Insulin Inhalers: In some cases, diabetes patients can use an inhaler to administer insulin orally.
Alongside the treatments mentioned above, there are a variety of other medical devices associated with living with diabetes. One prime example is blood sugar level and insulin monitoring devices, which can assist patients in knowing when to administer their next dose.
The Companies Battling Diabetes
There are quite a few biotech and medtech companies that are working tirelessly to improve the aforementioned medical devices and to research new ways of treating the disease. Here are some worth noting:
This Danish company is a global leader in the battle against diabetes, and among its many accolades is the founding of the World Diabetes Foundation — a nonprofit aimed at ridding the world of the disease. On its business side, Novo Nordisk researches and develops various pharmaceutical products and medical devices, designed to help those suffering from diabetes.
With more than a century of experience, Eli Lilly is one of the world’s best-known and well-established pharmaceutical companies. As part of its diabetes-focused activities, Eli Lilly researches and develops several treatments, both for insulin injections and non-insulin treatments for diabetes related illnesses.
This American biotechnology giant develops and markets various pharmaceutical products to treat a variety of conditions. As part of its eye treatment branch, Regeneron offers an FDA-approved drug for treating and delaying diabetic retinopathy — a condition caused by diabetes that can lead to blindness.
One of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, with more than 100 years of history and valuated at more than $200 billion, Merck offers three different glucose-related treatments for diabetics, including the world’s most widely used oral antidiabetic.
Another pharma giant, French Sanofi was a global leader in the research into diabetes treatment. Sanofi produces Lantus, the world’s most-prescribed long-lasting Insulin. As of 2019, the company decided to cease research into new treatment, but continues to focus on the manufacturing and distribution of Lantus.
Investing in the Future of Diabetes Treatment
From an investment standpoint, the diabetes market is extremely interesting. Existing treatments, such as Insulin, continue to have steady demand, alongside related medical devices, such as monitors and pumps. In addition, many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology and biomed companies are researching new drugs, and creating better ways to administer existing treatments. The combination of the gigantic segment of affected populations with the extremely resourceful entities investing in treatments, presents an alluring opportunity for investors.
To give its clients the opportunity to invest in this theme, eToro has created the Diabetes-Med Smart Portfolio — a fully allocated, managed investment strategy. Since the diabetes-related market is extremely large, many investors may be overwhelmed by the numerous options for stock investment available. For such investors, the Diabetes-Med Smart Portfolio may be an excellent solution, as it offers a diversified portfolio of diabetes stocks, to reduce single asset risk, comprising pure players alongside the biotech, medtech and pharma giants active in this sector.
To invest in the Smart Portfolio and track the overall performance of this market segment, check out Diabetes-Med.
This article is based on this datasheet, which includes links to relevant sources.
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