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Healthcare Stocks Trimming Late Losses; InterMune Slides 9% After Proposing Sale of 6.5 Mln Shares

Top Healthcare Stocks

JNJ -0.23%

PFE +0.03%

ABT +1.04%

MRK -0.70%

AMGN -1.68%

Healthcare stocks pared some of their earlier losses with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index retreating about 0.4% in late trade and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 declining 0.2% as a group.

In company news, InterMune Inc. ( ITMN ) is down 9.1% at $13.59 a share after late yesterday announcing plans to sell 6.5 mln shares of its common stock in an underwritten public offering.

The biotechnology firm working to development treatments for pulmonology and orphan fibrotic diseases plans to use proceeds from the offering to fund additional Phase III testing and eventual commercialization of its Pirfenidone drug candidate in the United States.

Pirfenidone currently is approved for sale in Europe under the Esbriet brand and as Pierfenex in Canada as a treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and reducing a decline in lung function. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February warned the company it was improperly marketing the drug online, noting the drug is "not amenable to self diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners."

Based on ITMN's 81.4 million shares now outstanding, the proposed offering would dilute existing shareholders by about 8% and would raise nearly $88 million in gross proceeds at the stock's current share price.

In other sector news,

(+) CYTX, Inks deal with Lorem Vascular to commercialize Cytori Cell Therapy for the cardiovascular, renal and diabetes markets in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. Lorem committed to pay up to $531 miln in licensing fees.

(-) IMGN, Pulls the plug on Phase II testing of its IMGN901 prospective treatment for small-cell lung cancer after trial results showed the drug didn't improve survival rates.

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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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