Health Care Sector Update for 02/16/2018: APRI,UTHR,PCRX

Top Health Care Stocks

JNJ +2.09%

PFE +2.41%

ABT +1.28%

MRK +0.95%

AMGN +0.42%

Health care stocks were leading the broader US markets higher, including a 1.2% gain for the NYSE Health Care Index in recent trading. Shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 were up 1.2% as a group while the Nasdaq Biotechnology index was climbing 0.4% higher.

Among health care stocks moving on news:

- Apricus Biosciences ( APRI ) fell under $1 a share for the first time since last June, plunging almost 71% to a session low of 93 cents a share, after saying federal regulators have rejected its new drug application for its Vitaros topical cream to treat erectile dysfunction. In its complete response, the US Food and Drug Administration said it could not approve the application in its present form, identifying deficiencies related to Vitaros' chemistry, manufacturing and controls as well as citing certain safety concerns specific to the current formulation, Apricus said in a statement, adding it was reviewing the agency correspondence to determine how it can resolve those deficiencies. The company also plans to issue an update on its efforts in early March, it said.

In other sector news:

+ United Therapeutics ( UTHR ) gained after late Thursday saying it has settled a patent legal fight with Actavis Laboratories FL over United's Orenitram extended-release tablets, which are used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension. Under terms of the agreement, United granted a license to Activis to manufacture and commercialize a generic version of the drug.

- Pacira Pharmaceuticals ( PCRX ) declined after an FDA advisory panel failed to reach a unanimous decision on the efficacy and safety of the company's Exparel as a nerve block for regional analgesia. The agency is not bound to follow the Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee's 4-to-6 decision against recommending the new drug application, believing Pacira needs to conduct more research, although it usually does.

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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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