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Healthcare Stocks Little Changed; Vical Rising After Scrapping Cancer Vaccine Program, Idling 47 Worker

By: MT Newswires
Posted: 8/23/2013 2:22:00 PM
Referenced Stocks: VICL

Top Healthcare Stocks

JNJ +0.4%

PFE +0.3%

ABT +0.3%

MRK -0.5%

AMGN -0.7%

Healthcare stocks are narrowly mixed today with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index gaining about 0.1% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 slipping about 0.1% as a group.

In company news, Vical Inc. ( VICL ) is up 1.65% at $1.35 a share, staying in a tight range today after disclosing plans to lays off 39% of workforce after the company scraps its cancer immunotherapy program to instead focus on infectious disease vaccines.

VICL is expecting to post about $2.2 mln in restructuring charges during Q3, with 47 employees receiving pink slips in the job cuts. The moves follow VICL last week reporting its Allovectin investigational cancer immunotherapy failed to meet efficacy endpoints in recent Phase III clinical testing.

The company said it had around $70 million in cash and equivalents on hand at the end of the June quarter, giving it enough resources to continue operations through 2015 at a minimum. Its net cash burn rate was about $17 million in Q2, down about $1 million from the prior quarter.

In other sector news,

(+) IMMU, (+1.9%) Reports fiscal Q4 net loss of $0.09 per share, a penny less than last year and beating Capital IQ consensus by $0.03. Revenue climbs 28.5% from a year ago to $1.4 mln, topping Street view by $590,000.

(-) DNDN, (-10%, has hit fresh 52 week lows) Earlier slides to new 52-week low after Deutsche Bank lowered its rating for the stock to Sell from Hold.