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Today's Health Winners and Losers

Shares of Nanogen (NGEN) were among the best-performing health-related stocks Wednesday, climbing 20% after the company's congestive heart failure test received Food and Drug Administration approval.

The company's StatusFirst plasma test is its first product to receive FDA marketing approval. "This is the first 510(k) clearance earned by Nanogen and is a significant milestone," the company said. "The StatusFirst CHF 510(k) plasma clearance will permit us to begin the commercial launch of our CHF test." The product was brought to market through a collaboration of Nanogen and Princeton BioMeditech. Shares were trading up 54 cents to $3.24.

Shares of LanVision Systems (LANV), which does business as Streamline Health, rose 3% after the company reported a big jump in fourth-quarter earnings. The company, which provides software used by medical professionals, earned $2.7 million, or 29 cents a share, on revenue of $6.2 million. A single analyst polled by Thomson First Call expected a profit of 11 cents a share on revenue of $6.2 million. During the year-earlier quarter, the company earned $1.6 million, or 17 cents a share, on revenue of $5 million.

For all of fiscal 2005, the company's earnings rose to $2.6 million, or 27 cents a share, from $558,000, or 6 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue grew to $16.1 million from $12.8 million. Shares were up 23 cents to $7.90.

Despite announcing a licensing agreement that could potentially be worth up to $525 million, Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) slid 4% Wednesday. Novartis (NVS), which owns about 56% of Idenix, exercised its option to license Idenix's valopicitabine compound, an oral antiviral that is in development as a hepatitis C treatment. "Our collaboration with Novartis contributes additional clinical, regulatory and marketing expertise to these efforts, as well as funding for this development program," Idenix said.

Under the agreement, Idenix is eligible to receive up to $70 million in license fees, including $25 million that is payable in connection with the option exercise. Additionally, Idenix could receive up to $455 million in milestone payments that are tied to regulatory filing and marketing approvals in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Shares of Idenix were down 55 cents to $13.54.

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