Healthcare Stocks Advancing; Insys Therapeutics Gains After Seeking FDA … – NASDAQ

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Healthcare stocks were higher in mid-day trade, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index adding 0.3% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 advancing about 0.4% as a group.

In company news, Insys Therapeutics ( INSY ) shares rose Thursday after the drugmaker said it has submitted a Type II Drug Master File to U.S. regulators for its cannabidiol active pharmaceutical ingredient as part of efforts to develop a new treatment for epilepsy in children and adults.

Cannabidiol is one of the non-psycholtrophic components found in marijuana plants. It was designated last year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an orphan drug to treat dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that often begins in infants.

INSY said it expects to file a New Drug Application with the FDA during the second half of 2014. The current application allows the company to comply with regulatory requirements while working to demonstrate the safety, efficacy and quality of its cannabidiol program.

In addition to its use as a prospective epilepsy treatment, INSY plans to study whether cannabidiol can be used to treat peripheral neuropathy, opiod addiction and certain types of brain tumors. The company also says it believes it is only U.S. firm with the ability to produce commercial quantities of the drug at its facility in Round Rock, Texas.

INSY shares were up 4.2% at $27.28 each in recent trade, earlier climbing to a session high of $27.64 a share. The stock has a 52-week range of $6.82 to $57.91 a share, more than tripling over the past 12 months with a 277.8% rise.

In other sector news,

(+) AMSG, (+6.7%) Buys Sheridan Healthcare for $2.35 bln in cash and stock, adding physician outsourcing services to its ambulatory surgery operations. Deal now includes $615 mln in stock although AMSG says it may replace most of that with cash.

(-) PRPH, (-2.1%) Agrees to sell 3.0 mln shares of its common stock to the Dutchess Opportunity Fund over the next 36 months. As part of the new investment agreement, PRPH terminates its prior equity line of credit with Dutchess.

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Referenced Stocks: INSY

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