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Healthcare Issues Rising Again; Ariad Pharma Takes Another Hit After FDA Warns of Leukemia Drug Risks

By: MT Newswires
Posted: 10/11/2013 2:32:00 PM
Referenced Stocks: ARIA

Top Healthcare Stocks

JNJ +1.79%

PFE -0.20%

ABT +0.59%

MRK -0.42%

AMGN +0.67%

Healthcare stocks are moderately higher, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index adding 0.6% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 rising 0.4% as a group.

In company news, Ariad Pharmaceuticals ( ARIA ) is plunging for a second time this week, falling nearly 19% to $4.42 a share as investors again respond to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's saying it is investigating reports of blood clots in some patients using the company's leukemia drug candidate.

In an online posting, the FDA said doctors should weigh the risks and benefits of treating patients with Iclusig, adding patients taking the drug "should seek immediate medical attention if they experience chest pain or pressure or other symptoms of heart attack.

The agency Wednesday said it was temporarily shelving clinical testing of Iclusig after the company reported nearly 12% of patients treated with the drug developed dangerous blood clots - a 50% jump over previous reports of side effects linked to the drug.

In other sector news,

(+) ANGO, (+1.8%) Non-GAAP adjusted earnings of $0.12 per share beat by $0.07 while its $83.6 mln in net sales top analyst estimates by $1.1 mln. Raises EPS, sales forecasts for Q2 and FY14 above Street consensus.

(-) ASTM, (-15.8%) Announces 20-for-1 reverse stock split in a move intended to lift stock price above $1 Nasdaq minimum requirement.