Health Care Sector Update for 03/20/2017: NKTR,ESPR,CERU

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Top Health Care Stocks

JNJ 0.00%

PFE +0.19%

MRK -0.46%

ABT +0.43%

AMGN +0.20%

Health care stocks were drifting lower in recent trade, with the NYSE Health Care Index declining about 0.1% while shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 also were down about 0.1% as a group.

In company news, Nektar Therapeutics ( NKTR ) surged Monday, with shares of the biopharmaceuticals company racing to a nearly 13-year high today after saying its NKTR-181 drug candidate met its primary endpoint of demonstrating a significant reduction in chronic lower-back pain compared with a placebo.

According to the company, 71.2% of the patients treated with NKTR-181 saw their pain decline more than 30% from the start of the Phase III efficacy trial of the opioid analgesic compared with 57.1% in the control group. Slightly more than half - 51.1% - of those NKTR-181-treated patients experienced a 50% drop in pain from their base line levels compared with 37.9% in the placebo group.

NKTR shares were up over 37% at $21.26 apiece in recent trading, earlier climbing to the best price since April 2004 at $21.64 a share.

In other sector news,

(+) ESPR, (+64.0%) Confirms its LDL-cholesterol lowering program is adequate to support approval of an LDL-C lowering indication for its bempedoic acid product and now expects to submit a new drug applicaton for reducing risk for cardiovascular disease risk with regulators in the United States and Europe.

(-) CERU, (-61.5%) Dare Bioscience becomes majority owner of the company. Sells CRLX101 & CRLX301 product lines to BlueLink Pharma for $1.5 mln; also divests its Dynamic Tumor Targeting Platform to Novartis ( NVS ) for $6 mln.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , US Markets
Referenced Symbols: NKTR , NVS , ESPR , CERU

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