Review and Outlook

as of 03/31/21

The Review and Outlook for period ending March 31, 2021, is not yet available.

Top Contributors/Detractors to Performance

as of 03/31/21

Contributors

  • Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. (PacBio) provides long-read DNA sequencing systems to scientists conducting genetic analysis. Shares performed well for the quarter. We believe there is increasing excitement about the potential for its platform to move beyond research into clinical applications. The recently appointed CEO was previously Chief Commercial Officer at Illumina, and we think he is well qualified to commercially execute on PacBio’s differentiated long-read platform. 
  • Bio-Techne Corporation is a leading developer and manufacturer of high-quality purified proteins and protein analysis and other life sciences tools, which it sells to biomedical researchers and clinical research laboratories. The stock did well in the quarter after the company reported a 19% acceleration in organic growth in the fourth quarter, driven by strength across the business including a small contribution from COVID-19- related products. We continue to believe Bio-Techne has a solid long-term outlook with multiple growth drivers.
  • Shares of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated reacted positively to more favorable 2021 guidance than previewed at the company's December 2020 investor day. Medical costs returned to a seasonal baseline, inclusive of COVID-19-related impacts. We consider UnitedHealth a core holding and a way to play positive demographic, population health, and value-based reimbursement trends. Despite its size, we think the company can grow earnings at a 20% CAGR with 13% to 16% long-term EPS growth, the fastest among major managed care companies.

Detractors

  • Beam Therapeutics Inc. is a biotechnology company pioneering a novel technology called base editing, which allows for individual base pairs (the letters of DNA) to be modified. Shares fell along with other biotech stocks, driven by a sudden rise in Treasury yields. Early stage biotech stocks are particularly sensitive to interest rates because their cash flows are further in the future. We believe we are entering into a phase of significant advancement for the gene editing field that will eventually lead to curative therapies, and we think Beam has a unique platform technology.
  • Denali Therapeutics Inc. is a biotechnology company developing therapies for neurodegeneration, including both targeted drugs and delivery systems for crossing the blood/brain barrier. Shares fell in concert with the broader market rotation from growth to value that resulted in significant weakness in biotechnology stocks. From a fundamentals perspective, Denali reported incrementally positive updates from its Hunter Syndrome program in the quarter, although this development was more impactful in the prior quarter when initial data was released.
  • Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd. is a biotechnology company dedicated to neurologic drug discovery. It launched its lead asset, migraine medication Nurtec, last year, and the company is transitioning towards profitability. Shares declined when Biohaven issued a secondary offering in March that took investors by surprise and seemed early in relation to an expected second indication for Nurtec in the prophylactic prevention of migraine, which expands its market. We exited our position.

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The performance data quoted represents past performance. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate; an investor's shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. The Fund’s transfer agency expenses may be reduced by expense offsets from an unaffiliated transfer agent, without which performance would have been lower. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted.

Risks:All investments are subject to risk and may lose value.

The discussion of market trends is not intended as advice to any person regarding the advisability of investing in any particular security. The views expressed on this page reflect those of the respective writer. Some of our comments are based on management expectations and are considered “forward-looking statements.” Actual future results, however, may prove to be different from our expectations. Our views are a reflection of our best judgment at the time and are subject to change at any time based on market and other conditions and Baron has no obligation to update them

Portfolio holdings are subject to change. Current and future portfolio holdings are subject to risk.

The index performance is not fund performance; one cannot invest directly into an index.