Healthcare stocks were mixed, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index slipping about 0.2% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 rising less than 0.1% as a group.
In company news, Vanda Pharmaceuticals ( VNDA ) shares added nearly 25% in value Wednesday after European regulators granted orphan drug designation for the company's medication intended to help blind people with no light perception have more regular sleep patterns.
The European Medicines Agency also accepted VNDA's application seeking marketing approval for its tasimelteon capsules, known commercially as Hetlioz, to treat Non-24 Disorder. Orphan drug status provides companies with an expedited review process and extended exclusivity periods to encourage development of drugs intended to treat relatively small patient populations.
Non-24 Disorder affects an estimated 95,000 Americans and around 130,000 people living in the European Union.
U.S. authorities approved Hetlioz in January, with the company launching commercial sales of the drug in late April.
VNDA shares were ahead 27.6% at $12.78 apiece in recent trade, 11 cents under their intra-day high. The stock has a 52-week range of $5.70 to $19.25 a share, rising almost 21% over the past 12 months.
In other sector news,
(+) MNKD, (+10.8%) Extending gains on high volume ahead of July 15 decision by an FDA advisory panel on the company's Afrezza inhaled insulin medication.
(-) AGN, (-2.5%) Extending losses for a second day following a combined 9% rise on Friday and Monday after Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX,VRX.TO) boosted its buyout offer to around $53.8 billion.
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