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. (
) 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 (
) 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 (
) 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.