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