Healthcare Stocks Narrowly Lower; GW Pharma Gains After Receiving Fast-Track Designation for Epilepsy Drug

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Healthcare stocks were drifting lower this afternoon, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index falling about 0.1% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 down about 0.2% as a group.

In company news, shares of GW Pharma ( GWPH ) rose Friday after U.S. regulators gave fast-track designation to its experimental drug intended for a severe form of childhood epilepsy.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration decision will provide the company with greater access to agency resources, helping expedite the development of drugs intended to treat serious conditions and fill unmet medical needs. The FDA earlier this year designated GWPH's Epidiolex drug candidate with orphan-drug status, clearing the cannabidiol product for limited use treating Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

The company anticipates meeting with FDA officials in coming months to discuss the company's investigational new drug application for Epidolex ahead of two planned Phase III trials of the drug next year.

GWPH shares were up about 5.4% at $71.43 apiece, earlier climbing to a session high of $74.90 a share. The stock has a 52-week range of $8.46 to $86.45 a share, rising almost 720% over the past 12 months.

In other sector news,

(+) MBII, (+2.6%) Prices offering of 4.5 mln shares at $9.50 each, a 1% discount to Thursday's closing price and generating around $42.75 mln in gross proceeds.

(-) NVAX, (-8.6%) Prices offering of 25 mln shares of its common stock at $4 apiece, a 12% discount to Thursday's closing price for the stock.

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: GWPH

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