Sector Update: Healthcare
Healthcare stocks were moderately higher Thursday, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index rising about 0.3% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 rising 0.5% as a group.
In company news, American depositary shares of Genetic Technologies ( GENE ) continued to rally Thursday, with the genetic-testing services receiving an upgrade from analysts at Ladenburg Thalmann - one day after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a further ExParte Reexamination Certificate to the firm.
The certificate follows the third request for ex parte re-examination of specific claims by Merial LLC. A re-examination is the process where a third party can have a patent claim again reviewed by the patent office to verify the subject matter is patentable.
According to acting Chief Executive Tom Howitt, GENE can move forward with settlement discussions with potential licensees now that the re-examination issue has been settled.
Ladenburg Thalmann now has a buy rating on the stock, up from Neutral. It set a price target of $2.50.
GENE advanced as much as 65% Thursday, climbing to an intra-day high of $2.36 a share. The stock was up 59.5% at $2.28 a share in recent trade, within a 52-week range of $1.30 to $3.35.
In other sector news,
(+) RTRX, (+52.2%) Acquires privately-held Manchester Pharmaceuticals LLC for $62.5 mln. Revises guidance, now forecasting revenue of $10 mln to $12 mln during FY14 and $19 mln to $21 mln in FY15. Street is at $6.2 mln and $10.8 mln this year and next, respectively.
(-) DRRX, (-24.9%) FDA issues complete response letter for the company's Posidur drug candidate, with the agency concluding it cannot approve the post-surgical treatment for pain because it does not have enough information whether the drug is safe to use.