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.



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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: CLVS , NVS

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