weren't getting much help from investors even though an analyst said the companies could benefit from weakness in the U.S. dollar.
Biotech analyst Ian Somaiya of Thomas Weisel Partners believes the greenback's downturn will lead to bright prospects for biotech in the coming year. While larger companies in the group like
stand to benefit significantly, companies with higher international involvement will be in even better shape, Somaiya says. Among those names are Gilead, Genzyme and Biogen.
Shares of Gilead fell 2.7% to $64.15, Genzyme lost 3.5% to $62.18, and Biogen was off 0.7% at $51.90.
said it will expand access to an investigational HIV treatment for patients with few available options. The stock edged higher by 0.4% to $27.60.
The Pfizer drug, Maraviroc, is currently being studied in late-stage trials involving HIV and AIDS patients who might not be able to tolerate another treatment or those with a particular strain of the virus that beats back existing drugs. Patients could start receiving the drug under the plan within the next few months, Pfizer says.
Procter & Gamble
slipped 0.7% to $62.31 even though it said studies on a new treatment for an inflammatory bowel disease found that use of the drug led to a significant improvement in patients' overall quality of life.
The delayed-release tablet Asacol is already approved for patients with mildly to moderately active ulcerative colitis to help keep the disease in remission, but it has never before been studied for improvements in quality of life.
said Stephen Hemsley officially took over as CEO, replacing longtime chief William McGuire, who resigned over compensation issues.
Richard Anderson -- rumored at one time to be a possible CEO candidate -- will now serve as president of the new Commercial Services Group. Anderson, a tech-savvy executive who once ran Northwest Airlines, will oversee technology efforts across the company with a focus on consumer-driven health care in particular. Shares of UnitedHealth were off 1.1% to $48.53.