Healthcare Stocks Lower Ahead of Tuesday Close; Insmed Rallies after Lung Drug Shows More Promise

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Healthcare stocks were lower today with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index off about 0.5% while shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 sliding about 0.6% as a group.

In company news, Insmed ( INSM ) shares shot higher Tuesday after the drug company released positive new data from Phase II testing of its Arikayce inhalant for patients with treatment-resistant non-tuberculous mycobacterial lung infections.

According to the company, the number of Arikayce-treated patients with negative cultures increased to 21 out of 68 patients on the 168th day of the trial compared with the double-blind phase of the trial that saw 11 out of 44 patients treated with Arikayce having negative cultures on Day 84.

U.S. and European regulators previously designated Arikayce with Orphan Drug status to treat lung infections and it also has received Fast Track and Qualified Infectious Disease Product designations from the FDA.

Full results from the mid-stage trial were scheduled for presentation later today at the American Thoracic Society's annual meeting in San Diego.

INSM shares were up nearly 9% at $14.26 each shortly before the closing bell, earlier climbing to a session high of $15.21 a share. The stock has a 52-week range of $9.00 to $22.29 a share, rising just over 22% over the past 12 months.

In other sector news,

(+) OPHT, Inks commercialization pact with Novartis ( NVS ) for its treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration, with the potential to pocket as much as $1 billion in upfront and milestone payments before receiving any potential royalties.

(-) GSK, A state-run newspaper, Legal Daily, accuses the company of evading around $16 mln in sales taxes for its HIV treatment as part of a broader probe into possible improprieties by company officials in China, Bloomberg reports.

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) 2014 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing Commodities
Referenced Stocks: INSM , NVS

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