GLOBAL - Institutional investors' interest in the healthcare sector is growing apace, according to a study conducted by Kommalpha.

The German consultancy said half of respondents to its latest survey were planning to invest in the sector due to its high growth potential.

Nearly 70% of those questioned said the healthcare sector was a trend worth pursuing, citing recent developments with the US healthcare bill.

While most respondents said they were focusing on pharmaceuticals, biotechnology came a close second, with 47% naming it as a worthwhile field.

Only a third of those surveyed said they had not invested in the medical sector.

Andrew King, head of European large-cap select equities at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, said the medical devices sector had proven lucrative for his company.

King cited a maker of radiology machines, as well as Varian as two companies that dominated one area of the market.

He said: "The fact we've got two dominant players means pricing is reasonably robust, and they've done well - that stock has done well."

He added that Synthes, a company that focuses on orthopedic implants, has not performed that well since the market recovery, but he said it was a "very, very strong business" and one BNP has "liked for a long time and still likes".

Despite King's interest in the medical technology market, Kommalpha says it trails third behind pharmaceuticals and biotechnology and German Pensionskassen had not invested in the sector at all.