Health care stocks were outpacing most other sectors, with the NYSE Health Care Index Friday rising 1.1% while the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF also was up 1.1%.
The Nasdaq Biotechnology index was climbing 1.7% this afternoon.
In company news, Verona Pharma (VRNA) was surging, recently 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 35% 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 SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus within 14 days and also significantly increased T-cell responses by the 38th day, the company said.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) rose fractionally after its chief science officer reportedly told analysts Thursday it hopes to move up the start of a late-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate by several months to late September. Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels said during an conference call discussing J&J's Q2 financial results it was adapting the same technologies it used to make an experimental Ebola vaccine to develop a potential coronavirus vaccine, according to CNBC.
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