Late Bounce Lifts Health Care Stocks to Positive Finish

Health care stocks turned slightly higher this afternoon, including a less than 0.2% advance for the NYSE Health Care Index in recent trade. Also, shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 also were up 0.1% as a group while the Nasdaq Biotechnology index was falling nearly 0.2%.

Among health care stocks moving on news:

+ Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. (RDY) climbed as much as 7% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier Friday approved the company’s combination of buprenorphine and naloxone sublingual film and the company disclosed plans for a commercial launch of the generic version of Elsevier’s Suboxone drug treatment for opiate addiction. In prepared remarks, Dr. Reddy’s CEO Alok Sonig said FDA approval and the upcoming market debut “could not come at a more critical time to help patients,” later adding it marks “an important milestone” for the company. Suboxone generated around $1.86 billion in U.S. sales during the 12 months ended April 30, the company said, citing statistics compiled by IMS Health.

In other sector news:

– Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA) was drifting lower Friday afternoon, slipping almost 1% in recent trading, after the Israeli generic drugmaker said it was pulling the plug on a clinical study for a prospective treatment of cluster headaches after concluding it was unlikely to meet its primary endpoint. Citing a pre-specified futility study, the company said it does expect the trial will demonstrate a statistically significant change from baseline in the monthly average number of cluster headache attacks over the 12-week trial period.

– AMAG Pharmaceuticals (AMAG) turned sharply lower this Friday, giving back gains earlier Friday, that followed the company announcing the $530 million, all-cash sale of its Cord Blood Registry to private equity investment firm GI Partners. The deal is expected to close later this summer and AMAG said it expects to use the most of the proceeds to pay off the remaining $475 million of its 7.875% senior notes maturing 2023.

– BeiGene (BGNE) declined Friday despite presenting encouraging data for its BTK inhibitor Zanubrutinib in patients with Waldenstr m macroglobulinemia, with 43% of the evaluable patients demonstrating a very good partial response. The prospective cancer drug also showed an overall 86% response rate among the 86 Chinese patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma in the single-arm Phase II trial. BeiGene now plans to submit its first new drug application for zanubrutinib with Chinese regulators later this year. Full results from the study will be presented at an upcoming major medical conference, the company said.