Sector Update: Healthcare

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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. ( GERN ) 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 through yesterday.

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 clinical hold.

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 around $300,000.



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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: GERN

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