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Health Stocks in Motion

Shares of ViroPharma (VPHM) were among the best-performing health-related stocks Monday, rising 11% after the pharmaceutical company posted third-quarter earnings and sales that trounced Wall Street expectations.

The company earned $18.7 million, or 31 cents a share, on sales of $35.8 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 21 cents a share and sales of $29.5 million. In the year-ago quarter, the company had a loss of $3.3 million, or 13 cents a share, on sales of $398,000. The company attributed the improved results to Vancocin, a colitis treatment. Vancocin had third-quarter sales of $35.7 million, with prescriptions up 36% from the year-earlier period.

ViroPharma increased its full-year Vancocin sales projection to $120 million to $123 million from its August forecast of $100 million to $105 million. Analysts expect sales of $119.8 million. Shares recently were trading up $2.27 to $23.26.

Dendreon (DNDN) climbed 8% after the company's Provenge prostate cancer treatment received fast-track status from the Food and Drug Administration. The designation, given for drugs that address an unmet medical need and treat life-threatening conditions, allows Dendreon to submit its biologics license application for Provenge on a rolling basis. Shares rose 45 cents to $6.03.

Shares of China Medical Technologies (CMED) rose 10% after the medical device company posted large year-over-year gains in second-quarter earnings and sales. China Medical earned $5.3 million, or 22 cents per American depositary share, on sales of $10.9 million. Earnings during the recent period jumped 61.3% while sales increased by 81.6%. The lone analyst forecast called for earnings of 19 cents a share and sales of $10.4 million. "The strong growth of our sales of the ECLIA system since its introduction in September 2004 contributed to the substantial year-over-year growth in both our net revenues and net income for the quarter," the company said.

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