Healthcare Stocks Sputtering; Clovis Oncology Gaining After Cancer Treatment Wins Breakthrough Designation


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Healthcare stocks were lower, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index off about 0.1% while shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 slide about 0.5% as a group.

In company news, shares of Clovis Oncology Inc. ( CLVS ) rose Tuesday after the biopharmaceutical company developing anti-cancer agents late Monday received Breakthrough Therapy designation for its prospective treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in patients who develop a resistance to cell-growth inhibitors.

Shares were ahead 2.5% at $58.19 each, earlier climbing to an intra-day high of $61.70 a share. The stock has a 52-week range of $32.32 to $93.33 a share, rising nearly 54% over the past 12 months through Monday's close.

The Breakthrough Therapy designation was granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration following interim efficacy and safety results from ongoing Phase I/II testing of the company's CO-1686 drug candidate. The prospective treatment produced an 64% objective response rate in 14 of the 22 patients who had developed a tolerance to certain other anti-cancer medications and was generally well-tolerated, with only one patient discontinuing treatment due to adverse events.

The company is scheduled to present an update on CO-1686 at an industry conference beginning next Saturday, May 31, in Chicago. CLVS also is enrolling two Phase II expansion cohorts for the current study, with expectations of submitting a New Drug Application to the FDA by mid-2015.

In other sector news,

(+) OPHT, (+22.4%) 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, (-0.2%) 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 The NASDAQ, Inc.

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

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: CLVS , NVS

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