Healthcare stocks were lower Wednesday afternoon with the NYSE
Healthcare Sector Index falling about 0.4% and shares of healthcare
companies in the S&P 500 declining about 0.3% as a group.
In company news, Geron Corp. (
) shares were down nearly 60% in late Wednesday trading, suffering
its worst day as a public company after after U.S. regulators
halted development of its only experimental drug because of
concerns over potential liver damage.
Geron sank 64 percent to $1.61 at 11:32 a.m. New York time,
after touching $1.39 in its biggest intraday decline since the
company first sold shares to the public in 1996. The shares of
Menlo Park, California-based company had tripled in the 12 months
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration told GERN to shelve its
mid-stage trial of its imetelstat drug candidate after identifying
low-grade abnormalities in the liver function of patients using the
prospective treatment for blood disorders.
"The FDA expressed concern about whether these LFT abnormalities
are reversible," the company said in prepared remarks, adding it
was working "diligently" with the agency to obtain a release of the
Shares were down 62% at $1.67 apiece shortly before the closing
bell, earlier falling to an intra-day low of $1.39 a share. The
stock has a 52-week range of 98 cents to $7.79 a share, enjoying a
three-fold jump in its share price since October when it reported
positive test results for imetelstat as a potential treatment for
bone marrow disorders.
In other sector news,
(+) OXGN, Said a combination of its Avastin and Zybrestat cancer
treatments met its primary endpoint of a "statistically significant
increase in progression-free survival" in patients with ovarian
cancer during Phase II testing compared with Avastin alone.
(-) FURX, Q4 net loss of $0.63 per share beats by $0.42. Revenue
rises 42.4% year over year to $13.1 mln, topping the Street view by
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