Health care stocks continued to outpace the broader Friday markets this afternoon, with the NYSE Health Care Index rising 1.2% while the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF also was up 1.2%.
The Nasdaq Biotechnology index was 0.7% higher just ahead of the closing bell.
In company news, Opthea Ltd (OPT) declined over 8% late during its first day as a publicly traded company in the US after Friday pricing a $128.2 million initial public offering of 9.3 million American depository shares or pre-funded warrants at $13.50 apiece, or about 22% under the $17.26 per ADS the Australian biopharmaceuticals had expected to sell the new stock. Most of the net proceeds will used for clinical development of its OPT-302 drug candidate for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration, according to the final prospectus.
Aslan (ASLN) rose 7% after the immunology company announced plans to develop its ASLAN003 product candidate as a potential treatment for autoimmune conditions. According to the company, ASLAN003 works by inhibiting the dihydroorotate dehydrogenase enzyme on human chromosomes and already has been shown to be efficacious in animal models treating multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.
Denali Therapeutics (DNLI) climbed almost 2% on Friday despite a BTIG downgrade of the biopharmaceuticals company to neutral from buy.
Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) also was 1.7% higher this afternoon, overcoming a 3.3% decline earlier Friday that followed the robotic-assisted surgery company reporting non-GAAP Q3 net income of $2.77 per share, down from $3.43 during the same quarter last year but still beating the Capital IQ consensus looking for $2.05 per share. Revenue declined 4.4% year-over-year to $1.08 billion but also exceeded the $966.8 million Street view.