Sector Update: Health Care

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Health care stocks were higher, with the NYSE Health Care Sector Index climbing 0.3% and shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 also adding about 0.3% as a group.

In company news, Exelixis Inc. ( EXEL ) shares rose Monday, putting more distance from their recent three-year low after reporting positive results in a late-stage trial of its cobimetinib drug candidate, reaching its primary endpoint during Phase III testing in patients with an advanced form of skin cancer.

The trial found cobimetinib when used in combination with another chemotherapy drug, vemurafenib, resulted in a statistically significant rise in progression-free survival in previously untreated patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic melanoma harboring the BRAFV600 mutation.


The trial was conducted by Genentech, a Roche Group ( RHHBY ) subsidiary, which plans to present the trial data at an upcoming medical meeting as well as beginning regulatory filing before the end of the year.

Separately Monday, EXEL said it also anticipates reporting top-line results from a Phase III trial of its cabozantinib drug candidate in patients with certain types of prostate cancer before the end of the year.

EXEL shares were up more than 18% at $3.94 apiece this afternoon, just 4 cents under their session high. The stock has a 52-week range of $3.02 to $8.41 a share, declining nearly 24% over the past 12 months.

The stock also may be finding support after a Seattle hedge fund suggested RHHBY may soon acquire EXEL in order to capture the full economics of cobimetinib, with David Miller of Alpine Bioventures tweeting the "question now is when does $RHHBY take out $EXEL? Just a question of timing at this point."

In other sector news,

(+) PGNX, (+8.7%) FDA says data provided with a supplemental new drug application submitted by Salix Pharmaceuticals ( SLXP ) for the Relistor drug candidate developed by PGNX to treat opioid-induced constipation is sufficient for approval.

(-) BDPT, (-14.1%) Names Barry Epling as its new CEO and president. Epling is the owner of Ferris Holding Inc., which has licensed its formulations and other intellectual property to BDPT. Ferris also is a significant BDPT shareholder.



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: EXEL , RHHBY , SLXP

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As of 12/19/2014, 04:15 PM


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