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Health Care Sector Update for 03/08/2018: A, EXRX, CI, VBLT, NVIV

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Top Health Care Stocks

JNJ, +1.8%

PFE, +1.5%

ABT, +1%

MRK, +0.6%

AMGN, +0.03%

Health care stocks were rising ahead of Thursday's close, including a more than 0.6% gain for the NYSE Health Care Index (^NYP) in recent trade. Also today, shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 ( XLV ) also were up over 0.7% as a group while the Nasdaq Biotechnology index (^NBI) was posting a 0.7% advance.

Among health care stocks moving on news:

InVivo Therapeutics Holdings ( NVIV ) surged more than 61% after it said it has received supplemental Investigational Device Exemption approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a second pivotal clinical study of its Neuro-Spinal Scaffold in patients with acute spinal cord injury ( SCI ). The 20-patient - 10 subjects in each study arm - randomized, controlled trial is designed to enhance the existing clinical evidence for the Scaffold from the company's single-arm Inspire study, according to a statement.

In other sector news:

+ Agilent Technologies ( A ) has climbed back to positive ground Thursday afternoon, erasing a nearly 1% slide earlier in the session to a session low of $69.23 a share that followed the diagnostics and life sciences company announcing a deal to acquire Iowa-based Advanced Analytical Technologies for $250 million. Advanced Analytical provides capillary electrophoresis services. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing condition.

- Express Scripts ( ESRX ) raced to a three-year high on Thursday, climbing almost 16% to its highest price since January 2015 at $85.07 a share, after the pharmacy-benefits company agreed to a $67 billion buyout offer from health care insurer Cigna (CI) for $67 billion. The deal values Express Scripts at $54 million, with its shareholders receiving $48.75 in cash and 0.2434 of a Cigna share for each share they now own. Cigna also will assume about $15 billion in Express Scripts debt, boosting the total transaction to $67 billion. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the year.

- Vascular Biogenics (VBLT) plunged to a record low on Thursday, sinking over 66% to a worst-ever $2.30 a share, after saying a combination of its VB-11 drug candidate and bevacizumab, a monoclonal antibody used treat various forms of cancer, failed to improve overall survival during Phase III testing in patients with recurrent glioblastoma compared with bevacizumab alone.

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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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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