Sector Update: Health Care Stocks Mostly Lower; Regulus Therapeutics Wins Orphan Drug Designation for Prospective Kidney Disease Treatment
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Health care stocks were moderately lower, with the NYSE Health Care Sector Index slipping about 0.4% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 falling about 0.4% as a group.
In company news, Regulus Therapeutics ( RGLS ) was lower Monday afternoon, with shares of the biotech company getting little apparent help from U.S. regulators desiginating the company's RG-012 experimental therapy with orphan drug status for an inherited form of kidney inflammation.
RG-012 is a single stranded, chemically modified oligonucleotide that binds to the microRNA-21 gene, inhibiting its functions. The orphan drug designation is intended for the treatment of Alport syndrome, a genetic disease characterized by end-stage kidney disease as well as impaired hearing or vision.
RGLS said its next step is likely starting a natural history of Alport syndrome and its progression. It expects to demonstrate human proof-of-concept results in the Phase I testing of RG-101 as a potential treatment of hepatitis C before the end of the year and beginning an early-stage trial of the drug with Alport syndrome patients during the first half of 2015.
The company's shares were down about 1.1% at $6.69 apiece, holding 5 cents over its intra-day low. The stock has a 52-week range of $5.40 to $11.68 a share, sliding 34% over the past 12 months.
In other sector news,
(+) GILD, (+0.1%) Inks collaboration pact with Sandoz to commercialize its tavaborole topical treatment for fungal infections on toenails following its July 8 FDA approval. GILD will receive $40 mln upfront payment and $25 mln in additional milestone payments.
(-) GNCA, (-2.5%) Begins Phase II dose-optimization trial for its GEN-003 drug candidate to treat Type 2 herpes simplex. Interim results from the trial are expected in mid-2015.