Top Health Care Stocks
Health care stocks were mostly higher Thursday, including a 0.4% gain for the NYSE Health Care Index in recent trading. Shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 were up just 0.1% as a group while the Nasdaq Biotechnology index was losing over 1.2%.
Among health care stocks moving on news:
- Intercept Pharmaceuticals ( ICPT ) was up more than 7% on Thursday after saying it expects net sales during the just-concluded Q1 of its Ocaliva drug treatment for a form of liver cirrhosis caused by an autoimmune disorder will trail its Q4 sales by a small margin. In a regulatory filing Wednesday night, the drugmaker blamed the yearly resetting of health care insurance deductibles along with the gap in Medicare Part D drug coverage for the shortfall for the three months ended March 31. But the company also said it believes the long-term market opportunity treating primary biliary cholangitis remains strong during the rest of 2018 and beyond.
In other sector news:
- Apricus Biosciences ( APRI ) declined on Thursday, slipping almost 3%, after saying it has closed on a $3.55 million public offering of 7.1 million shares of its common stock priced at 50 cents apiece. Investors participating in the deal also received five-year warrants to buy up to 3.55 million additional shares, also at 50 cents each, which will become exercisable after Apricus shareholders approve a proposal doubling the company's authorization to 60 million shares. Aprius is expecting to use the net proceeds for working capital and general corporate purposes.
- Conatus Pharmaceuticals ( CNAT ) lost nearly a third of its former value on Thurday, dropping almost 33% and falling to within 13 cents of its 52-week low of $3.88 a share, after saying its emricasan drug candidate failed to produce a statistically superior response after more than two years of phase IIb testing in post-liver transplant patients with fibrosis or cirrhosis compared with patients in the placebo group. Despite the disappointing results with the overall patient population, Conatus said the response rates in several patient subgroups were extremely encouraging - reaching as high as 95% and performing up to 44.7 percentage points better than the respective placebo subgroup - and support further evaluation.