Health Care Sector Update for 12/15/2014: ADXS, AZN, OPK, SHS, PFE

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Top Health Care Stocks

JNJ -0.55%

PFE +0.26%

ABT -0.18%

MRK -0.57%

AMGN -2.81%

Health care stocks were mostly lower, with the NYSE Health Care Sector Index retreating about 0.7% and shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 down about 0.6% as a group.

In company news, Advaxis Inc. ( ADXS ) was higher Monday after federal regulators cleared the biotech company to begin Phase I/II testing early next year of its ADXS-HPV anti-cancer therapy either alone or in combination with AstraZeneca's ( AZN ) MEDI4736 drug candidate.

ADXS shares were up 15% at $4.35 apiece, just 4 cents off their session high. The stock has traded within a 52-week range of $2.46 to $5.99 a share, declining almost 12% over the past year prior to Monday's advance.

Approval of ADXS' Investigational New Drug application by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows the company to proceed with a trial to evaluate ADXS-HPV as a prospective treatment for advanced, recurrent or refractory human papillomavirus-associated cervical cancer and HPV-associated head and neck cancer.

The company and AZN, through its Medimmune unit, in July announced their plans to collaborate on clinical testing of their respective lead cancer drugs.

During the Phase I part of the trial, researchers will conduct a dose-confirmation study of ADXS-HPV as a monotherapy and together with MEDI4736, a human monoclonal antibody that works to counter immune-evading tactics by tumors. The Phase II study will assess the safety and measure the clinical activity of the combination and monotherapy treatments.

AZN shares were falling this afternoon, down almost 3% at $69.89 each.

In other sector news,

(+) OPK, (+8.9%) Signs global commercialization agreement with Pfizer ( PFE ) for its long-acting hGH-CTP human growth hormone. Receives $295 mln upfront payment and is eligible for up to $275 mln in future payments.

(-) SPHS, (-79.8%) Independent Data Monitoring Committee determines PRX302 drug candidate did not achieve a predefined efficacy threshold as a potential treatment for lower urinary tract symptoms of Benign prostatic hyperplasia.

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 , Commodities
Referenced Symbols: ADXS , AZN , PFE

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