Sector Update: Healthcare

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Healthcare stocks are mixed this afternoon, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index rising about 0.2% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 slipping about 0.1% as a group.

In company news, Chelsea Therapeutics International Ltd. ( CHTP ) shares have nearly doubled in value Wednesday, climbing to its best price since July 2011 after an FDA advisory panel recommended the company's Northera medication to treat low blood pressure in patients with Parkinson's disease and muscular disorders.

The Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee voted 16-1 to recommend the drug to agency for ultimate approval. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is not bound to follow advisory recommendations, it typically does. A final decision is expected by Feb. 14.

Besides working to raise blood pressure in Parkinson's patients, Northera is intended for patients with multiple system atrophy and pure autonomic failure, helping prevent them from dizzy spells and fainting when stand up from a sitting or prone position.

Northera previously received Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA to treat rare diseases and disorders. CHTP acquired global development and commericalization rights for the drug outside of Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan from Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co. Ltd. in 2006.

Shares were up almost 96% at $4.50 each, earlier rising to $5.78 to match the stock's highest levels in nearly 30 months when the company was predicting it would submit Northera to the FDA for approval during Q3 of 2011 after studies showed no clinically relevant FDA for approval after studies showed the drug caused no morphological changes in patients.

In other sector news,

(+) GMED, (+8.1%) Reports preliminary Q4 sales of $115.2 mln, beating the analyst consensus by $2 mln. It also is projecting FY14 EPS of $0.90 to $0.92 on $480 mln to $486 mln in sales; Street is look for a $0.92 per share profit on $487 mln in sales.

(-) RNN, (-12.1%) Agrees to sell 19.05 mln equity units in a $20-mln registered direct offering priced at $1.05 per unit. Each unit has one share of common stock plus a five-year warrant to buy 0.25 of a share exercisable at $1.28 per share.



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Referenced Stocks: CHTP

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