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Health Care Sector Update for 09/26/2017: GNCA,MBRX,AXON


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Top Health Care Stocks

JNJ -0.11%

PFE -0.20%

ABT +0.72%

MRK -0.48%

AMGN -0.08%

Health care stocks were trending lower this afternoon, with the NYSE Health Care Index sinking almost 0.3% while shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 were down less than 0.1% as a group.

In company news, Genocea Biosciences ( GNCA ) plunged more than 73% to an all-time low of $1.41 a share during Tuesday trading after the biotech company late Monday said it is shifting its focus to immuno-oncology and development of neoantigen cancer vaccines, effectively scrapping work on its GEN-003 drug candidate to treat genital herpes.

The company said it was immediately ending all spending on GEN-003, including idling about 40% of its current workforce, and would be also seeking a buyer or some other strategic alternative for the Phase III-ready drug candidate.

Instead, Genocea Bio will now steer its remaining resources to its GEN-009 cancer treatment program, likely beginning Phase I testing of the investigatonal medicine early in 2018 in addition to filing a new drug application for the drug candidate with U.S. regulators. Initial immunogenicity data from the upcoming clinical trial should be available during the first half of 2019, the company said.

The company had around $35.2 million in cash and equivalents on June 30, the final day of its Q2, according to recent regulatory filings, and last night said it currently has enough money on hand to support its operations and capital projects through mid-2018.

Following the company announcement last night, analysts at Stifel on Tuesday lowered their investment recommendation for Genocea Bio to Hold from Buy and slashed their price target for the company's stock by 83% to $2.50 a share from $15 a share previously.

In other sector news,

(+) MBRX, (+10.5%) U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves clinical trial protocol for the company's Annamycin drug candidate in patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia.

(-) AXON, (-71.3%) Investigational drug intepirdine fails to achieve either of its co-primary efficacy endpoints during Phase III testing in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Intepirdine previously received Fast Track designation from the FDA.

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: GNCA , MBRX , AXON



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