4 Healthcare Stock Stories Ready for a Midweek Investment Checkup

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK): Closing price $48.11

A study presented Wednesday at the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Denver indicated that too few American adults have been vaccinated for shingles, which is a painful condition similar to chicken pox. Research calls for efforts to increase the inoculation that is recommended by the United States government.

Fewer than 2 in 10 Americans aged 60 and older have been vaccinated, and nearly one-third of Americans will get shingles in their lifetime, with some 1 million cases in the U.S. annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vaccine Zostavax, made by Merck & Co., was approved for sale in 2006 for people 60 and older, and for use by those in their 50s in 2011.

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Ventrus Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:VTUS): Closing price $2.97

On Wednesday, Ventrus reported positive results from two clinical dermal safety studies and one pharmacokinetic study of diltiazem hydrochloride 2-percent cream, VEN 307. All three studies were run to support the firm’s planned new drug application for VEN 307 as a treatment for anal fissures. For the dermal safety studies, Ventrus conducted two single-center, randomized, controlled trials to examine the irritation and sensitization potential of VEN 307 in healthy volunteers.

The studies employed cumulative along with repeat insult patch designs, which aim to provide a standard assessment of cutaneous tolerability and safety. Ventrus is a pharmaceutical firm centered on developing and commercializing gastrointestinal products.

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Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX): Closing price $3.38

On Wednesday, Novavax announced positive findings from recent clinical and preclinical studies of its respiratory syncytial virus F-protein nanoparticle vaccine candidate in poster sessions at the 53rd Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Denver. Novavax is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm that creates novel recombinant nanoparticle vaccines and vaccine adjuvants.

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Protalix BioTherapeutics, Inc. (NYSE:PLX): Closing price $5.59

Protalix said Wednesday that it will offer and sell, subject to market conditions, $60 million principal amount of its convertible notes due 2018 through a private offering. The firm expects to grant the initial purchaser an option to buy up to an additional $9 million principal amount of notes, exercisable for 30 days after the pricing date of the notes offering. This offering is subject to market conditions, and there can be no assurance as to whether or when the offering might be completed, or as to the actual magnitude or terms of the offering.

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