Health Care Stocks Still Drifting Lower

Health care stocks were mostly lower, with the NYSE Health Care Index slipping about 0.4% while shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 were down over 0.5% as a group.

In company news, Cerecor (CERC) shares slumped on Wednesday after the neurological and psychiatric drugmaker said its CERC-301 drug candidate to treat major depressive disorder missed its primary endpoint during phase II testing.

Overall, the trial failed to demonstrate efficacy on the primary endpoint for mean improvement in Bech-6, a subset of the Hamilton Depression Scale (HDRS-17), averaged over days 2 and 4 post dose. However, the study showed signals for the CERC-301 20 mg dose group at Day 2, at pre-specified secondary endpoints, indicating a potentially clinically-meaningful effect, though not statistically significant, on the Bech-6 and HDRS-17.

CERC-301 failed to produce a statistically significant improvement in a clinical measure of depression symptoms compared with a placebo at either 12 milligram or 20 milligram doses. Statistically significant improvement also was not found with the secondary endpoints evaluated so far.