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Health Stocks in Motion

Updated from 2:57 p.m. EST

Shares of Aphton (APHT) were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Tuesday, falling 45.7% after the biopharmaceutical company said that its pancreatic cancer drug, Insegia, did not meet its primary endpoint of improving overall survival rates in a phase III clinical trial.

"While Insegia did not meet the primary endpoint, we are encouraged by results we have observed in patients who achieved an antibody response, in this case approximately 70% of patients," the company said. The company believes the positive results seen by the 70% of patients who received a combination of Insegia and chemotherapy is important because it will help the company design future clinical trials that combine Insegia and chemotherapy. Shares traded down $1.43 to $1.70.

Salix Pharmaceuticals (SLXP) fell 6.1% after the company posted in-line fourth-quarter results and forecast 2005 earnings that would match expectations. The drug developer posted fourth-quarter earnings of $3.6 million, or 9 cents a share, on sales of $28.9 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 9 cents a share on sales of $28.4 million. Looking ahead, the company forecast 2005 earnings of at least 60 cents a share on sales of $150 million to $155 million. Analysts are expecting earnings of 60 cents a share on sales of $146.8 million. Shares traded down $1.09 to $16.76.

Shares of Altair Nanotechnologies (ALTI) fell 15% after the company announced the sale of 5 million shares of stock at $4.05 apiece. After the deal closes, Altair expects net proceeds of about $19.2 million. The sale price represents an 18% discount to Monday's closing price of $4.95. Altair said it would use proceeds from the offering to fund working capital and general corporate needs. Shares of Altair have climbed more than 55% since the beginning of the year. Shares traded down 74 cents to $4.21.

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