And yet the fund is know for its calm amid biotech storms, outperforming its competitors--and the benchmark S&P 500--with its eclectic ability to choose both tiny fledgling scientific firms and household names in the drug industry.
Such flexibility has helped the fund top the S&P index by 23 percentage points in the last three years and by more than 11 percentage points in the last five, according to Morningstar.
This year, however, has been a different story. The fund is down an ugly 25 percent, better than its category peers but trailing the S&P by nearly 5 percentage points, Morningstar data show.
"It was just a miserable quarter," Isaly said shortly after wrapping up the year's first nine months. The fourth quarter's early days brought no relief for the sector, either.
When Transkaryotic Therapies last week cut its third-quarter sales estimates and reported its enzyme-replacement therapy won't get Food and Drug Administration approval until at least early next year, its stock plummeted more than 60 percent.
The Amex Biotech-Pharmaceutical Index soared above 103 in February, bottomed in July at 63 and climbed back to 83 in August before settling at 71.95 on Thursday.
How does Isaly gain perspective amid the chaos? It sounds corny to simply say he focuses on the long run and doesn't get sidetracked by near-term ups and downs.
Corny, that is, until you meet the man.
Paralyzed in a high school wrestling match and confined to a wheelchair for all of his more than 30-year career, a casual observer might conclude that a passion for finding a scientific advancement that would make him walk again is what drives his investing mind.
The passion is certainly there. He and his team at OrbiMed Advisors Inc. in New York (Eaton Vance distributes the health fund) meet on weekends just to stay abreast of all their investment ideas. Due diligence is such a priority that turnover in the fund is relatively low.
But ask him what motivates the fervor behind the fund, and you hear a pretty mundane explanation. Working for an investment firm early in his career, a pharmaceutical analyst position opened up and he grabbed it.
Source : http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2002-10-06/business/0210060318_1_fund-s-p-investment375