Healthcare Stocks Gaining; Prima BioMed Rises after CEO Presentation, Stock Buys


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Healthcare stocks are higher, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index advancing 0.3% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 adding 0.7% as a group.

In company news, Prima BioMed Ltd ( PBMD ) is soaring, climbing 76% to an intra-day high of $1.90 a share after the Australian biotech company's chief executive officer presented data on its prospective cancer vaccine as part of broader presentation this morning on immunocellular cell therapy at an industry conference in London.

Matthew Lehman had been scheduled to speak at 1:55 p.m. local time - or 8:55 a.m. ET - at the 11th Annual Commercial Translation of Regenerative Medicine, with his remarks slated to include recent clinicial data of PBMD's CVac drug candidate as a case study. A company spokeswoman said in an email message there was no new information disclosed during the presentation.

Lehman and other company executives earlier this month discussed CVac at length during a conference call with analysts, saying they were moving forward with Phase II testing of CVac with 210 patients with epithelial ovarian cancer. That followed Phase II testing in 63 patients indicating a 50% increase in progression-free survival to 7.7 months compared to observation-only patients at 5.1 months.

Traders online also were pointing to Lehman's purchase Thursday of 14,806 American depository shares for $15,958.19, or $1.07 a share, boosting his ownership of PBMD ADRs by 82.7% to 32,706 shares. He also owns nearly 1.62 million of the company's Australia-listed shares plus options to purchase another 2.1 million shares, according to a new ASX regulatory filing.

U.S. volume was much heavier than usual Monday, with some two million shares having changed hands as of midday, well above the daily average of 98,584 shares. At last look, shares were up 49% to $1.61 apiece.

In other sector news,

(+) DVA, (+8.3%) Kidney dialysis provider DaVita traded higher late Friday after Medicare issued a surprise rule that will result in no payment cuts to those firms next year, tabling a proposed 12% cut. Rival Fresenius ( FMS ) also is up 7.2%.

(-) AMPE, (-0.1%) urges caution about recent reports forecasting speedy regulatory approval of the company's diabetic macular edema drug, pointing to a recent SEC filing hinting a third trial of the drug may be required.

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

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities
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