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Health Stocks in Motion

Updated from 2:31 p.m. EDT

Shares of Pure World (PURW) were among the best-performing health-related stocks Monday, rising 108.9% after the company agreed to be acquired by France-based Naturex for about $37 million in cash.

The price tag of $4.30 a share represents a premium of 112% over Pure World's closing price of $2.03 on Friday. The purchase of Pure World, a manufacturer and seller of botanical extracts used by the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, is expected to close in July 2005.

"We believe that the combination of Pure World with our group of companies will further enhance our collective efforts to become a leading player in the botanical extracts and natural ingredients markets," Naturex said. Shares of Pure World traded up $2.21 to $4.24.

Oscient Pharmaceuticals (OSCI) rose 5.5% after the company said its five-day Factive treatment of mild to moderate community-acquired pneumonia performed well when compared to a seven-day treatment. The study, which compared the five-day dosing to the FDA-approved seven-day dosing, achieved its primary endpoint of non-inferior clinical response rate at the follow-up visit. "We believe that a five-day course of therapy with Factive has the potential to improve patient compliance, decrease the risk of adverse events, reduce a patient's overall antibiotic exposure and possibly delay the development of resistance," Oscient said. The company plans to file a supplemental new drug application with the FDA for its five-day treatment by the end of 2005. Shares traded up 9 cents to $1.74.

Shares of CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals (CGPI) traded actively Monday after the company said two phase III trials designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Oracea met their endpoints. The company's rosacea treatment demonstrated a greater reduction in inflammatory lesion count compared to a placebo. The differences, the company said, were clinically and statistically significant. Patients receiving Oracea experienced a 61% and 46% mean reduction in inflammatory lesions compared to 29% and 20%, respectively, in the placebo groups. As a result of the favorable efficacy and safety profile of Oracea, the company plans to file a new drug application during the third quarter of 2005. Shares, which had risen by more than 30% since the middle of May, traded down 45 cents to $4.82.

Other health care volume movers included Pfizer (PFE), up 5 cents to $28.01; Elan (ELN), down 69 cents to $6.34; Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA), down $1.16 to $31.98; Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), down 6 cents to $66.38; Biogen Idec (BIIB), down $1.03 to $35.37; Merck (MRK), down 6 cents to $32.03; Amgen (AMGN), down 48 cents to $61.01; UnitedHealth Group (UNH), up 39 cents to $50.99; and Schering-Plough (SGP), down 15 cents to $19.40.

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