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Health Stocks in Motion

Updated from 2:19 p.m. EST

Shares of NitroMed (NTMD) were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Friday, falling 12.8% after the company posted a fourth-quarter loss that just missed expectations.

The company posted a loss of $9.7 million, or 36 cents a share, on sales of $9.5 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting a loss of 35 cents a share. A year ago, the company posted a loss of $10.5 million, or 71 cents a share, on sales of $7.2 million. Shares traded down $2.73 to $18.62.

Horizon Health (HORC) rose 9.7% after the company said it priced 1.5 million shares at $36.25 each in a follow-on stock offering. The stock closed Thursday at $36.40. Horizon said that it would use the $50.6 million in net proceeds to pay down $34.5 million in debt and use the rest for general corporate purposes, including acquisitions. J.P. Morgan led the underwriting syndicate. Shares traded up $3.52 to $39.92.

Shares of Nanogen (NGEN) rose 4.1% after the company said it received a patent related to ligation-based strand displacement amplification technology, which will make the detection of infectious diseases much quicker. The intellectual property pertains to research that was conducted in collaboration with Becton Dickinson (BDX). Shares traded up 16 cents to $4.10.

Savient Pharmaceuticals (SVNT) traded actively after the company halted a phase II clinical trial for its Prosaptide compound. The trial was designed to test the safety and efficacy of the drug in HIV and AIDS patients who suffered from peripheral neuropathic pain. The trial was halted at the recommendation of the Data and Safety Monitoring Board, which discussed the results of the analysis of the unblended study at a meeting in late February. On March 10, the safety monitoring board wrote a letter to Savient, saying that even if the trial were to continue, there was little chance of achieving statistical significance at the analgesia efficacy endpoint. Shares traded up 10 cents to $2.64 on volume of more than 1.15 million shares.
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