Top Healthcare Stocks
Healthcare stocks are little changed this afternoon, with the
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index rising less than 0.1% while shares of
healthcare companies in the S&P 500 are down less than 0.1% as
In company news, Mack Pharmaceuticals Inc. (
) is rising as much as 24% after saying its MM-121 drug candidate
positively identified biomarkers in a pair of Phase II studies that
could help doctors choose which drugs would be most effective
treating certain forms of breast cancer.
MM-121 is a monoclonal antibody designed to target the ErbB3
(HER3) receptor and to interfere with growth factor-mediated
resistance to standard-of-care therapies.
In one study, the doubled-blinded, placebo-controled trial found
when MM-121 was used in combination with another chemotherapy drug,
exemestane, it was more effective in prolonging progression-free
survival than exemestane alone in breast cancer patients who had
previously failed anti-estrogen therapy.
The second open-label Phase II study compared the pathologic
complete response rate in patients with hormone receptor-positive
breast cancer when MM-121 was used in combination with paclitaxel
followed by doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide, three other drugs
used alone or in combination to treat a wide range of cancers such
as ovarian and lung cancers in addition to certain brain tumors and
Approximately three out of every four types of breast cancers
are estrogen positive, meaning they grow in response to the
hormone. The second trial found that 10.8% of the patients
receiving a combination of MM-121 and paclitaxel achieved a
complete response compared to 3.3% rate in the control arm.
At last look, MACK shares were up 10.4% to $3.47 each after
earlier climbing to an intra-day high of $3.90 a share. Despite
today's hefty gains, the stock remains well off its 52-week high of
$7.50 a share.
Separately, MACK and Actavis plc (
) announced a collaboration agreement using MACK's proprietary
nanoliposomal technology platform to develop and manufacture new
drugs for ACT to commercialize around the world. ACT shares are up
0.1% at $163.19 apiece.
In other sector news,
(+) VCYT, (+6.7%) Molecular cytology and diagnostics company
narrows Q3 net loss to $6.59 per share from a $7.49 per share loss
in the year-ago period. Revenue climbs 74% year over year to $5.6
mln. No analyst estimates were available for comparison.
(-) GHDX, (-1.5%) Acquires rights to further develop and
commercialize Almac Group's multi-gene test to predict benefit from
DNA damage-based chemotherapy drugs for breast cancer in exchange
for $9-mln upfront payment and future milestone, royalty