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Healthcare Stocks Helping Pace Market Rally; Amgen Climbs on FDA Approval for New Cholesterol Drug

By: MT Newswires
Posted: 3/31/2014 1:38:00 PM
Referenced Stocks: AMGN

Top Healthcare Stocks

JNJ +0.75%

PFE +0.50%

ABT +0.39%

MRK +0.89%

AMGN +2.17%

Healthcare stocks are mostly higher, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index gaining 1.1% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 rising 1.0% as a group.

In company news, Amgen ( AMGN ) advanced nearly 2% Monday after saying its prospective cholesterol drug reduced so-called bad cholesterol by as much as 76% during late-stage testing.

According to the company, evolocumab significantly reduced LDL cholesterol in patients intolerant to more common anti-cholesterol medications as well as in patients using statins.

One of the Phase III trials found a 37% to 39% drop in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the statin-resistant group compared to a placebo. Used together with a statin, the study found cholesterol levels fell between 55% to 76% in patients receiving evolocumab compared to the control group, AMGN said.

AMGN shares were ahead 2.2% at $123.19 in mid-day trading, earlier climbing to a session high of $124.53 a share. The stock has a 52-week range of $94.15 to $128.96 a share.

In other sector news,

(+) BIIB, (+3.4%) U.S, regulators approve the company's Alprolix hemophilia B drug.

(-) MNKD, (-14.7%) Piper Jaffray downgrades to Underweight from Neutral ahead of the company's April 1 meeting with the Food and Drug Administration on its Afrezza diabetes drug. Price target cut to $1.50 from $5 a share.