* News about trade talks lift futures first - analyst
* Santen Pharma jumps on share buyback
* Pharmaceutical sector gains attention on individual news
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei reversed course and ended higher as optimism over U.S.- China trade talks lifted companies which have large exposure to China such as Yaskawa Electric and Fanuc.
Reuters reported that top U.S. and Chinese trade officials are working this week to hash out language on six broad agreements that aim to resolve the most contentious issues in their seven-month trade war.
The Nikkei share average ended 0.2 percent higher to 21,464.23, after trading in negative territory for much of the day. It marked the fourth consecutive day of gains.
"After the news was out, Nikkei futures were bought which lifted cash stocks later," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.
Yaskawa rallied 2.2 percent, Fanuc was up a touch after trading down in the morning.
Elsewhere, company-specific news drove up activity in the pharmaceutical sector.
Santen Pharmaceutical jumped 5.0 percent after the company said it would buy back 8.14 million of its own shares, or 2 percent of shares outstanding, worth up to 14 billion yen.
Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp shed 2.9 percent after the company said Novartis Pharma has filed request for arbitration against the drugmaker linked to royalties for jointly-developed FTY720, a treatment for multiple sclerosis.
Biopharma company AnGes Inc jumped 16 percent to a daily-limit high of 735 yen after the Nikkei business daily reported that health ministry experts issued preliminary approvals for Collategene, a regenerative treatment for damaged arteries, a drug that AnGes has worked on since its founding in 1999. (here)
The firm would become the first Japanese company to receive approval for a treatment that regenerates blood vessels, the Nikkei said.
The broader Topix was flat at 1,613.50. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)