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Sector Update: Health Care

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Health care stocks were broadly higher today with the NYSE Health Care Sector Index advancing about 0.8% and shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 also posting an 0.8% gain as a group.

In company news, Vitae Pharmaceuticals ( VTAE ) rose to a new all-time high Friday after saying a developmental drug reduced the presence of biomarker for Alzheimer's disease in healthy volunteers by over 80% during early-stage testing.

The biotechnology company late Thursday announced positive top-line results from Phase I testing of its BI1181181/VTP-37948 drug candidate, an orally active beta secretase inhibitor discovered by VTAE and being developed by privately-held Boehringer Ingelheim.

The placebo-controled trial found an 80% drop in amyloid beta levels in patients' cerebral spinal fluid, one of the primary indicators of Alzheimer's disease. The single rising-dose testing also indicated BI1181181/VTP-37948 was safe and generally well-tolerated across all dose levels and supported a once-daily dosing profile.

Based on the results of the trials, Boehringer Ingelheim is expected to soon begin additional Phase I testing, including a multiple rising-dose trial slated to finish by next June.

VTAE shares recently were up more than 9% at $9.44 in mid-day trade, earlier jumping to their highest level since the company's Sept. 24 initial public offering of stock at $12.25 a share.

In other sector news,

(+) EW, (+10.4%) Climbs to record high after reporting adjusted Q3 EPS of $0.80, beating estimates by $0.08 per share. Revenue rises 22.6% year over year to $607.4 mln, topping consensus by $61.3 mln. Sees Q4 earnings, revenue in line with Street.

(-) IMS, (-6.5%) Q3 revenue climbs 3.6% year over year to $656 mln, missing Street view by $12.44 mln. EPS of $0.37 beats by $0.03 per share. FY14 EPS guidance of $1.34 to $1.36 lags estimates by at least $0.02 per share.

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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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