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Healthcare Stocks Rising; Merck to Lay Off 8,500 Workers, Reports Positive Early Results for Lung Cancer Drug

By: MT Newswires
Posted: 10/1/2013 1:58:00 PM
Referenced Stocks: MRK;SYMC

Top Healthcare Stocks

JNJ +0.70%

PFE +0.37%

ABT +1.57%

MRK +2.40%

AMGN +1.88%

Healthcare stocks are broadly higher, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index gaining about 0.9% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 climbing nearly 1.1% as a group.

In company news, Merck & Co. ( MRK ) is up 2.3% at $48.71 a share, climbing as high as $49.23 after the drug-maker announced a series of new cost-saving initiatives, including layoffs for 8,500 of its employees.

Overall, MRK said it hopes to cut annual operating expenses by $2.5 billion by the end of 2015.

Separately this afternoon, the company said interim data from Phase IB testing of its MK-3475 drug candidate found a 24% preliminary objective response rate from the anti-PD-1 immunotherapy in previously treated patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Additional details will be presented at an Oct. 29 industry conference in Sydney, Australia,

In other sector news,

(+) KND, (+6.8%) Acquires TherEX Inc., paying $14 mln for the on-site, hospital-based, rehabilitation services provider operating in 11 states. TherEX generated around $20 mln in revenue during 2012.

(+) MCK, (+2.5%) Names Symantec ( SYMC ) finance chief James Beer to be its next chief financial officer, effective Oct. 9.