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Healthcare Stocks Losing Ground Ahead of Closing Bell; Alkermes Up 3% on Positive Results for Schizophrenia Drug

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Healthcare stocks turned lower Tuesday with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index falling 0.3% today and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 declining about 0.7% as a group.

In company news, Alkermes plc ( ALKS ) was holding on to a 3% advance on Tuesday after saying its experimental drug to treat schizophrenia symptoms met its primary goals during Phase III testing, setting the stage for the company seeking regulatory approval for aripiprazole lauroxillater this year.

The company said two doses of the drug injected monthly reduced the severity of schizophrenia symptoms in patients, compared with a placebo. Once inside the body, ALKS' drug converts into aripiprazole, known commercially as Abilify. ALKS' technology allows the drug to be released at a controlled, allowing patients to take the drug less frequently.

ALKS shares jumped as much as 10.6% to reach $45.48 each earlier today, retreating to its current range around $4.50 a share, up 3.4%. The stock has a 52-week range of $22.35 to $54.25 a share, rising nearly 88% over the past 12 months.

In other sector news,

(+) ZGNX, Sues in federal court to overturn an executive order by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick barring doctors from prescribing or drug stores from selling its Zohydro painkiller.

(-) PCRX, Announces plans to sell $100 mln of its shares of common stock in an underwritten public offering. Also begins strategic partnership with Patheon to create additional manufacturing capacity for its Exparel post-surgery pain reliever.

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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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