Health care stocks were moderately higher Thursday afternoon, with the NYSE Health Care Index rising 0.4% while the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF was up 0.5%.
The Nasdaq Biotechnology index also was climbing 0.7%.
In company news, NRx Pharmaceuticals (NRXP) was surging more than 43% higher, giving back a portion of an earlier 80% advance that followed the company saying it has validated a commercial intravenous formulation and container closure method for its Zyesami drug candidate, making the COVID-19 treatment suitable for high-volume manufacturing. NRx earlier this week reported phase II/III trial data showing Zyesami can help prevent cytokine storms in patients with COVID-19.
Arvinas (ARVN) rose more than 10% after the early stage biopharmaceuticals company said it is partnering with Pfizer (PFE) to commercialize its ARV-471 drug candidate for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic ER+/HER2- breast cancer. Under the deal, Arvinas will receive a $650 million upfront payment and is eligible for up to $1.4 billion in additional payments, with Pfizer also investing $350 million into the company.
Biogen (BIIB) climbed 2% after raising its FY21 revenue outlook to $10.65 billion to $10.85 billion compared with its prior forecast range expecting between $10.45 billion to $10.75 billion and Thursday also defended its Aduhelm medication in a open letter to the Alzheimer's community against accusations US regulators approved the drug despite mixed trial data for its efficacy.