Markets

Health Care Sector Update for 03/02/2015: ATHX,OHRP,PCRX

Top Health Care Stocks

JNJ +0.66%

PZE +0.99%

MRK -0.30%

ABT +0.13%

AMGN +0.40%

Health care stocks were mostly higher, with the NYSE Health Care Sector Index climbing 0.3% and shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 advancing 0.6% as a group.

In company news, Athersys ( ATHX ) advanced Monday after the biotech company lined up Japanese drugmaker Chugai to help it develop its stem-cell therapy for stoke.

Under terms of the new partnership, Chugai will make a $10 million upfront payment to ATHX in exchange for a license to develop and sell ATHX'x MultiStem therapy in Japan, with ATHX eligible for up to $45 million in additional payments and royalties as MultiStem proceeds through additional clinical studies and potential regulatory approvals.

ATHX in April is expected to release results from Phase II testing of MultiStem in patients within a day or two of having stokes to determine if it improves their recovery. The stem-cell therapy is derived from adult bone marrow and is intended to promote tissue repair and reducing inflammation.

Current therapies typically provide patients with clot-busting drugs within a few hours of a stroke occurring.

ATHX shares were ahead nearly 13% in mid-day trading at $2.92 apiece, earlier climbing to a session high of $3.29 a share. The stock has traded within a 52-week range of $1.08 to $3.93 a share, already declining nearly 33% over the past 12 months prior to Monday's rally.

In other sector news,

(+) OHRP, (+34.7%) Reports additional positive anatomic data from testing of its OHR-102 drug candidate showing early regression of subretinal hyper-reflective material in patients the wet form of age-related macular degeneration.

(-) PCRX, (-16.3%) FDA rejects company's bid to expand use of its exparel pain medication to include a nerve-numbing injection in addition to its current approved use managing post-surgical pain near the incision and operation site.

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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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