Healthcare Stocks Joining Broader Rally; AstraZeneca Rises on Progress for Prospective Blood-Thinner


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Healthcare stocks were higher Monday with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index rising 0.7% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 gaining 0.8% as a group.

In company news, AstraZeneca ( AZN ) share were up about 1% in late Monday trading after the drug-maker earlier today reported progress in a clinical trial of its ticagrelor drug candidate in patients with high-risk cardiovascular disease, completing enrollment in the Phase III testing four months ahead of schedule.

Overall, more than 13,500 patients worldwide with peripheral artery disease have now been enrolled in the trial, including around 2700 in the United States from over 300 trial sites across the country. The trial was designed to evaluate the effects of ticagrelor, which will be marketed commercially as Brilinta, compared to a previously approved blood-thinner, Plavix (clopidogrel), on cardiovascular events.

AZN today also said it was expanding its late-stage testing of ticagrelor to two more studies intended to compare the efficacy of the drug with aspirin in reducing major vascular events in patients with acute ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attacks.

AZN shares were up 1% at $65.95 each in recent trade, earlier climbing as high as $66.21 during today's session. The stock has a 52-week range of $46.01 to $68.76 a share.

In other sector news,

(+) CCM, Shares spiked after the radiotherapy and diagnostic imaging chain was one of nine stocks selected to join the NASDAQ Golden Dragon China Index (HXC) March 24 following its quarterly re-ranking.

(-) NDZ, CIBC cuts investment rating to Underperform from Sector Perform.

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

Copyright (C) 2014 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AZN

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