Health Care Sector Update for 09/05/2018: AGIO,PRQR,HSGX,CELG

Top Health Care Stocks

JNJ +1.05%

PFE +0.68%

ABT -1.82%

MRK +0.80%

AMGN +0.38%

Health care stocks were moderately lower Wednesday, including a 0.3% decline for the NYSE Health Care Index in recent trading. Also, shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 were down more than 0.2% as a group while the Nasdaq Biotechnology index was sinking over 0.5%.

Among health care stocks moving on news:

(-) Agios Pharmaceuticals ( AGIO ) climbed as much as 5% after the drugmaker late Tuesday selected board member Jacqualyn Fouse to be the company's next chief executive, succeeding David Schenkein, who will become board chairman after stepping down from the post. Prior to joining the Agios board, Fouse had been the president and chief operating officer at Celgene Corp ( CELG ). Current board chairman John Maraganore will continue as a board member after Schenkein becomes the new board chairman. Agios and Celgene Wednesday announced they had terminated Sept. 4 licensing and collaboration agreements surrounding products containing the molecule AG-881, being studied to treat cancer. Agios keeps global rights to AG-881.

In other sector news:

(+) ProQR Therapeutics ( PRQR ) soared to a 34-month high on Wednesday, rising almost 74% to its best price since October 2015 at $13.80 a share, after reporting positive interim results for its QR-110 drug candidate in patients with an inherited disease that causes severe loss of vision at birth. It said patients with Leber's congenital amaurosis who were treated with QR-110 displayed a rapid and sustained improvement in their vision. Based on those results, ProQR said it will develop protocols for a double-blind, 12-month phase II/III study for QR-110 for review by the US Food and Drug Administration, adding it expects to begin the trial during the first half of 2019.

(-) Histogenics' ( HSGX ) share price dropped below $1 for the first time ever on Wednesday, falling nearly 73% to 75 cents a share, after saying its NeoCart drug candidate failed to meet its primary endpoint during phase III testing of a statistically significant reduction in pain and improved function one year after treatment compared with patients treated with microfracture surgery. The company said it expects to soon discuss the trial results with regulators and to potentially apply for a biologics license for NeoCart.

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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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