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Sector Update: Health Care

Health care stocks were lower Friday afternoon, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down about 0.3% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 falling 0.6% as a group.

In company news, Novo Nordisk A/S ( NVO ) was rising this afternoon after an FDA advisory panel overwhelmingly voted to recommend the full agency approve the company's injectable diabetes drug as a new obesity treatment.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is not required to follow Friday's 14-to-1 recommendation by the Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee in support of NVO's liraglutide drug candidate, but it typically accepts decisions by advisory panels.

The company plans to market the once-daily injection drug as Saxenda if approved for obesity treatment. Trial data submitted to the FDA showed that across all trials, 60% of patients achieved a 5% weight loss and 31% achieved a 10% weight loss.

NVO shares recently were ahead about 1.8% at $47.62 apiece, just off their intra-day high at $47.72 a share. The stock has traded within a 52-week range of $32.55 to $48.42 a share, rising over 40% during the past year before Friday's gains.

In other sector news,

(+) NLNK, (+1.6%) Initiated with Buy rating at Mizuho.

(-) AMRN, (-22.1%) FDA denies appeal of the agency's recission of a special protocol assessment in a clinical trial intended to expand the approved uses of the company's prescription fish-oil pill.

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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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