A new mutual-fund-like investment vehicle takes the idea of niche investing to an even higher level, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Violts, or Veritcal Investments of Life Sciences Trusts, are unit investment trusts that will invest in companies that try to cure some of the world’s deadliest diseases.

New Orleans-based Doley Securities last month started offering the Violts, which will invest in small biotechnology companies, large pharmaceutical firms and industrial companies that sell medical equipment. Many of the firms involved are working on cures to diseases like Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.

While such sector-centered investments are nothing new, Doley is taking the position that people with friends or family members affected by the diseases will want to invest in the Violts.

"That’s what we call the passionate investor," said CEO Sam Katz, chief executive officer of WellSpring BioCapital Partners, the funds’ investment advisor. "We believe there are millions of those people."

Starting March 15, 2005, investors will be able to put their money into the trusts, some centered around companies trying to cure prostate cancer, or diabetes, or ovarian cancer. The trusts will have a minimum initial investment of $1,000 ($500 for IRAs), and be sold through brokers.

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The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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