Health Care Sector Update for 05/22/2018: VBIV,CTMX,RDY,BMRN

Top Health Care Stocks

JNJ -0.74%

PFE -0.18%

ABT -1.23%

MRK -0.19%

AMGN +0.99%

Health care stocks were ending moderately lower today after giving back narrow gains earlier in the session. At last look, the NYSE Health Care Index was falling slightly almost 0.3% in recent trade. Also today, shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 were down slightly more than 0.3% as a group although the Nasdaq Biotechnology index was rising nearly 0.3% this afternoon.

Among health care stocks moving on news:

+ VBI Vaccines ( VBIV ) was hanging on to a small gain shortly before Tuesday's closing bell, easing from a 5% advance earlier in today's session, that followed the early-stage drugmaker saying it was on the brink of "really important" human clinical data readouts across three different programs representing a "very different spectrum of risk and return". In prepared remarks, CEO Jeff Baxter described its prospective Hepatitis B vaccine as having an extremely low risk and a very strong potential return. He also its CMV vaccine candidate was "in the middle, probably (at) 50-50" while its GBM vaccine program was at the other end of the spectrum. "It is an extremely high risk, but extremely important for people with this terrible disease, and could really be a "knock out of the park" in terms of financial return for investors," if successful.

In other sector news:

+ CytomX Therapeutics ( CTMX ) advanced Tuesday, at one point climbing almost 3%, after the specialty pharmaceuticals company said federal regulators have cleared its CX-2029 drug candidate to treat several forms of solid and hematologic cancers. CytomX is co-developing CX-2029 with AbbVie ( ABBV ) and this week's approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Admnistration of the company's investigational new drug application triggers a $25 million milestone payment to CytomX from Abbvie.

+ Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd ( RDY ) was almost 2% higher this afternoon despite the Indian drugmaker reporting a smaller per-share profit and a drop in revenue compared with year-ago levels. The company earned $0.28 per share during the three months ended March 31, down from $0.29 per share last year, while revenue declined to $543 million from $546 million during the first three months of 2017. Analyst estimates were not available for comparison.

- BioMarin Pharmaceutical ( BMRN ) was nearly 3% lower in late Tuesday trading, roughly halving a 6% decline during the first 30 minutes of today's regular session that followed the company reporting improved two-year results among patients with hemophilia who were treated with its valoctocogene roxaparvovec gene therapy, including a 96% mean reduction in use of Factor VIII, a blood-clotting protein considered the standard of care. Quality of life also improved, BioMarin said, observing a median 17.3-point increase over baseline levels in a patient assessment of their symptoms and more than tripling the 5.2-point increase considered to be the minimal clinically important difference.

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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