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Health Stocks in Motion

Updated from 2:35 p.m. EDT

Shares of Escalon Medical (ESMC) were among the best-performing health-related stocks Tuesday, rising 33.7% after the company posted third-quarter results and provided an update to its legal dispute with IntraLase (ILSE).

The medical device maker earned $743,558, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $7.2 million. The one analyst who was polled by Thomson First Call was looking for a loss of 4 cents a share on sales of $6.6 million. A year ago, the company earned $739,174, or 17 cents a share, on sales of $3.6 million. Most of the sales increase came from Escalon's acquisition of Drew Scientific Group, which it acquired in July 2004. Excluding Drew, the company would have earned $940,000, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $4.2 million.

Separately, Escalon said it filed a complaint against IntraLase for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. The complaint alleges that IntraLase acted in bad faith under a license agreement for laser technology. Escalon is seeking declaratory relief, specified damages and specific performance for its rights under the license agreement -- including its right under the agreement to have independent accountants audit the books and records of IntraLase to verify and compute payments due Escalon Medical.

Earlier this month, according to Escalon, a California court entered a judgment -- in a separate case -- that IntraLase must pay Escalon royalties on revenue from maintenance contracts and one-year warranties. IntraLase, however, is not required to pay royalties on research grants, though IntraLase must give Escalon an accounting of third-party royalties. Shares of Escalon traded up $1.72 to $6.83. Shares of IntraLase traded down 1 cent to $17.50.

Sun Healthcare Group (SUNH) rose 10.9% after the company said it would acquire privately held Peak Medical for about $150 million. The deal, which includes the assumption of some $96 million in debt and the issuance of roughly 9 million shares, is expected to be accretive to Sun's earnings once the deal closes. New Mexico-based Peak operates 62 inpatient facilities that span seven states. For the 12 months ended March 31, 2005, Peak had sales of $225 million. The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2005. Shares of Sun Healthcare traded up 71 cents to $7.20.

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