ETF Issuers Bulk Up on Weight Loss Theme

ETF Issuers Bulk Up on Weight Loss Theme

Amplify and Roundhill join Tema to offer access to popular diet drug companies.

Wealth Management Editor
Reviewed by: Staff
Edited by: Ron Day

As breakthrough weight-loss drugs gain popularity with their increasing availability, ETF issuers are seizing the opportunity by packaging the drugmakers into new thematic funds.

The Amplify Weight Loss Drug & Treatment ETF (THNR) and the Roundhill GLP-1 & Weight Loss ETF (OZEM) both started trading Tuesday offering exposure to companies leading the way in the development of popular weight loss drugs, including Ozempic.

THNR is a passive exchange-traded fund tracking an index of companies manufacturing and developing weight loss drugs, and OZEM is an active strategy focused exclusively on the growing sector of GLP-1 receptor agonists and similar weight management drugs.

New ETFs Embrace Weight Loss Drugs

The two new ETFs join the Tema Obesity & Cardiometabolic ETF (HRTS), which has grown to $60 million since launching in November.

The appeal for ETF issuers and investors is the potential of the specific drug category, which originated nearly two decades ago as a treatment for diabetes and has morphed into a weight loss drug with ancillary benefits of lowering risks of heart disease and strokes.

Christian Magoon, chief executive of Amplify ETFs in Chicago, said the $7 billion weight loss drug industry is projected to grow to $45 billion by 2030. In addition to the widespread appeal of the GLP-1 drug category that works by suppressing appetite, Magoon said the next growth stage will likely be fueled by ramped up drug production and more coverage from health insurance companies.

Magoon said what might motivate insurance companies to cover the weight loss drugs is the math when weighing the medical expenses associated with an obese individual compared to an individual who is not obese.

According to Amplify’s research, in 2021 the average annual healthcare insurance reimbursement cost for a person who was not obese was $5,000, which compares to $13,000 for an obese person.

“If you’re obese you may have joint issues, heart issues, diabetes,” Magoon said. “It looks like the math would work for insurance companies to cover this, and the cost of the drugs could go down because of increased production.”

Dave Mazza, CEO of Roundhill Investments in New York, makes a similar argument for the category.

“With obesity rates nearly tripling since 1975 and projected to affect over half the population by 2035, the market for weight loss drugs is in its early stages,” he said.

For investors and financial advisors, the list of ETF choices in this category will likely grow. But for now, it comes down to HRTS, which charges 75 basis points and is up 6.8% from the start of the year, and THNR and OZEM, both of which charge 59 basis points.

Jeff Benjamin is the wealth management editor at, responsible for coverage related to the financial planning industry. This includes writing, hosting podcasts, webinars, video interviews and presenting at in-person events.

Jeff is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years’ experience covering the financial markets. He has won more than two dozen national and regional awards for his reporting. He most recently worked as a senior columnist at InvestmentNews where he wrote about investment products and strategies, as well as the broader financial planning industry. Prior to that, Jeff worked as an analyst at Cerulli Associates where he researched and wrote reports on the alternative investments industry. Jeff also worked as a money management reporter at Dow Jones Newswires, where he covered the mutual fund industry.

Based in North Carolina, Jeff is a former Marine and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.