Late Slump Erodes Healthcare Sector; Cytokinetics Loses Nearly Two-Thirds in Value After ALS Drug Test Lapse

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Healthcare stocks were mostly lower today with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index slipping about 0.4% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 down about 0.7% as a group.

In company news, Cytokinetics, Inc. ( CYTK ) shares plunged nearly 63% Friday, falling to a 16-month after the biotech company said its experimental treatment for Lou Gehrig's disease failed to achieve its primary endpoint for Phase II testing.

The study was intended to measure the efficacy of the company's Tirasemtiv drug candidate in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. One of the secondary endpoints in the study also tried to measure how Tirasemtiv worked to improve respiratory function in ALS patient, producing mixed results.

"Patients with ALS desperately need new therapeutic alternatives to slow the course of their disease and loss of function," CEO Robert Blum said in prepared remarks. "We stand with the ALS community in our disappointment [the trial] did not achieve its primary efficacy endpoint."

CYTK shares were down 62.9% at $4.82, just a penny off its session low and matching some of the stock's lowest share prices since December 2012. Over the past 12 months, the stock is down nearly 39%.

In other sector news,

(+) EW, Q1 revenue grows 5.2% year over year to $522.4 mln, trailing analyst estimates by $2.03 mln. Net income decline from $1.24 per share last year to $0.56 per share. Ex items, adjusted EPS of $0.76 tops Street view by $0.07 per share.

(-) PKI, Q1 earnings of $0.46 per share top Capital IQ consensus by $0.02. Estimate of $0.44; revenues rose 5.2% year over year to $531.9 mln, matching estimates. Issues in-line FY14 EPS guidance of $2.42 to $2.46 per share.



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

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: CYTK

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