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Sector Update: Healthcare

By: MT Newswires
Posted: 12/16/2013 1:59:00 PM
Referenced Stocks: AGEN

Healthcare stocks are narrowly higher, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index climbing 0.3% while shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 are holding a 0.2% gain as a group.

In company news, Agenus Inc. ( AGEN ) shares are up more than 20% at $2.94 apiece, reaching some of their best levels since early September at $3.20 apiece after the biotech reported positive results from Phase II testing of its Prophage Series G-200 brain-cancer vaccine treatment.

According to the company, 90% of patients with surgically resectable recurrent high-grade glioblastoma multiform - the deadliest form of brain cancer - treated with Prophage were alive six months after receiving the drug, meeting the primary objective of the multi-center, single arm trial.

Approximately 30% of the trial patients were alive at twelve months, with a median overall survival of around eleven months.

In other sector news,

(+) CBST, (+7.2%) Its ceftolozane/tazobactam antibiotic candidate combined with metronidazole met primary endpoints of statistical non-inferiority compared to meropenem in Phase III testing in patients with complicated intra-abdominal infections.

(-) PIP, (-2.0%) FDA places a clinical hold on the company's SparVax rPA anthrax vaccine program. Phase II trials had been expected to begin before year's end; a letter explaining the agency's reasons is expected within 30 days.