Health care stocks continue to outpace most other sectors, with the NYSE Health Care Index Friday rising 1.6% while the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF also was up 1.6%.
The Nasdaq Biotechnology index was climbing 1.9% this afternoon.
In company news, BeiGene (BGNE) rose 7.5% after the immuno-oncology company said Chinese regulators have accepted the new drug application for its pamiparib drug candidate for the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer. The application includes data from phase I/II testing of the poly-ADP ribose polymerase inhibitor in patients with ovarian or fallopian cancers, primary peritoneal cancer or advanced triple negative breast cancer. It also plans to file late-stage trial data in coming months.
Verona Pharma (VRNA) was surging, earlier more than tripling to a two-year high of $15.71 a share, after the UK specialty drugmaker said it raised about $200 million through an oversubscribed private placement of its American depositary shares, that included additional investments by Chief Executive David Zaccardelli, chief financial officer Mark Hahn, several board members and institutional investors Novo Holdings A/S and Vivo Capital.
Applied DNA Sciences (APDN) remained nearly 20% higher after the company said all five of the Linea-DNA vaccine candidates for COVID-19 it produced for Takis Biotech showed "strong" antibody and T-cell responses even at very low doses during pre-clinical testing in mice. All of the prospective vaccines caused the mice to produce Immunoglobulin G against the SARS-CoV-2 virus within 14 days and also significantly increased T-cell responses by the 38th day, the company said.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) swung between small gains and losses after its chief science officer reportedly told analysts on Thursday it hopes to move up the start of a late-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate by several months. Paul Stoffels said the company was talking with the National Institutes of Health about starting phase III testing of the prospective vaccine "ahead of its original schedule, potentially in late September," according to Reuters.
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