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Franklin Biotechnology Discovery reached its new $500 million asset target and closed to new investors on Monday, the San-Mateo, Calif. based firm announced.

In January,


announced it was

raising the fund's $150 million closing target, and it only took a couple of weeks for the hot fund -- focusing on arguably this young year's hottest sector -- to reach its new target. Only current shareholders or retirement-plan investors can buy shares now.

How hot are biotech stocks? The

American Stock Exchange Biotechnology Index

is up 143% over 12 months and up 29% year to date through Monday's close, according to


. The Franklin biotech fund is trouncing even those fat returns, up more than 170% over the past year and 38.9% year to date, according to



The fund is the top health care fund over the past year and ranks second of 26 health funds year to date, according to Lipper.