Health Care Sector Update for 05/17/2018: LOXO,ILMN,SNDX,VRX,VRX.TO,VBLT

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Top Health Care Stocks

JNJ -1.27%

PFE -0.17%

ABT +0.27%

MRK -1.19%

AMGN +0.34%

Health care stocks were slightly lower again this afternoon, including a less than 0.1% slide for the NYSE Health Care Index in recent trade. Shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 also were down almost 0.1% as a group while the Nasdaq Biotechnology index was falling nearly 0.1% today.

Among health care stocks moving on news:

+ Loxo Oncology ( LOXO ) jumped out to a new, record high on Thursday, adding more than 23% in value today to a best-ever $171.99 a share, after announcing plans to present interim data from Phase I testing of its LOXO-292 drug candiate in patients with different types of tumors at an upcoming industry conference next month. Loxo has been developing the highly selective RET (rearranged during transfection) inhibitor with Immunia ( ILMN ) to treat patients with tumors that have had nucleic acids introduced into their cancer cells. The company said the data it will present will include results through an April cutoff date instead of using the data through early 2018 it had originally submitted to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, explaining the efficacy data improved between January and April.

In other sector news:

- Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX,VRX.TO) was edging lower Thursday afternoon, giving back a slightly more than 1% gain that earlier followed the Canadian drugmaker beginning a $750 million offering of its unsecured senior notes due 2027. the company also is seeking to revise its existing credit faciliity and borrow around $4.57 billion through new Term B loans, up from $3.82 billion under its current facility. Net proceeds from the note sale and the additional borrowings will be used to redeem the company's 6.375% senior notes due 2020 as well as its outstanding 6.75% senior notes due 2021 and 7.25% senior notes due 2022.

- Vascular Biogenics ( VBLT ) declined Thursday after the early-stage biotech company reported a wider Q1 net loss compared with year-ago levels and also missing Wall Street estimates. Net loss for the three months ended March 31 came in at $0.24 per share, expanding on a $0.19 per share loss during the first three months of 2017 and lagging the Capital IQ consensus by $0.03 per share. The company also generated around $163,000 in revenue during the January-to-March reporting period, narrowly beating the $150,000 two-analyst consensus. The company did not record any revenue during the year-ago period.

- Syndax Pharmaceuticals ( SNDX ) dropped as much as 26% on Thursday dispite the specialty drugmaker saying it will soon present encouraging preliminary data from Phase Ib/II testing of a combination of its entinostat drug candidate and Merck's pembrolizumab oncology medication in patients with certain types of lung, skin and colorectal cancers. "Confirmed objective responses with the combination regimen have been observed across all cohorts," the company said Thursday, later adding that "updated data continue to demonstrate a manageable toxicity profile for the entinostat-pembrolizumab combination, with treatment emergent adverse events observed consistent with those previously reported." Syndax will present the trial data at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting beginning June 1 in Chicago.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , US Markets
Referenced Symbols: LOXO , ILMN , VBLT , SNDX ,

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