Top Health Care Stocks
Health care stocks have turned lower this afternoon, with the NYSE Health Care Index dropping almost 0.2%. Shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 were down just over 0.1% as a group in late trade although the Nasdaq Biotechnology index was rising over 0.8% today.
Among health care stocks moving on news:
+ Sage Therapeutics ( SAGE ) surged Tuesday, at one point climbing over 20%, after the early-stage biopharmaceuticals company detailed the expedited development plan for its SAGE-217 drug candidate and the eventual filing of a new drug application for the prospective treatment for major depressive disorder and postpartum depression. The expedited development plan includes an additional placebo-controlled Phase III trial, with both studies designed to evaluate episodic dosing - also known as short-course treatment - of SAGE-217 in reducing depressive symptoms compared to placebo. A separate open-label study also will measure the potential of episodic treatment for recurrent or new major depressive episodes and provide additional safety data. It expects to begin the first Phase III trial before the end of 2018.
In other sector news:
+ Centene Corp ( CNC ) rose Tuesday after the health care administrator said the New Hampshire Department of Corrections has renewed its contract with its Centurion of New Hampshire unit for another four years, beginning on July 1. The new contract also has two optional years to renew. Centene gained full ownership of Centurian earlier this year through its acquisition of MHM Services, which had previously partnered with Centenue with a 49% share of the joint venture formed to serve the corrections system in the state.
- Pluristem Therapeutics ( PSTI ) has turned solidly lower Tuesday afternoon, reversing a nearly 9% advance soon after the opening bell that followed the Israeli biotech company reporting positive top-line results from Phase II testing of its PLX-PAD cells in patients with leg pain. The company said the genetic treatment reduced the incidence of revascularization and improved patients' mobility in patients with intermittent claudication and validates the design of its upcoming Phase III trial.
- Surface Oncology ( SURF ) declined Tuesday after the early-stage immuno-oncology company said it has begun Phase I testing of its SRF373 human antibody targeting the CD73 enzyme. CD73 is critical to the production of extracellular adenosine and suppresses the ability of the immune system to recognize and attack tumors. SRF373 exhibited potent CD73 enzymatic inhibition during pre-clinical trials and reduced adenosine and increased the activity of immune cells, the company said.