Today's Health Winners and Losers
Shares of Martek Biosciences (MATK) were among the best-performing health-related stocks Friday, jumping 10% after the maker of nutritional oils said that it landed a 10-year deal to supply oils to Mead Johnson Nutritionals, the U.S.'s biggest producer of infant formula.
Under the deal with Mead Johnson, which is owned by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Martek will serve as exclusive worldwide supplier of DHA and ARA, fatty acids that are used in the production of infant formula. "It's a great day for babies around the world," Martek said. "This agreement illustrates the importance and long-term acceptance of Martek's vegetarian DHA and ARA in infant formula." The company's previous 25-year supply agreement, which was signed in 1992, has been incorporated into the new agreement and remains in effect, Martek said. Shares were trading up $2.20 to $24.14.
Solexa (SLXA) fell 2.7% after the company, which provides genome-sequencing services, filed a shelf registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission that would allow it to sell stock, warrants, debt or any combination of the securities for $100 million. Shares were trading down 24 cents to $8.77.
Shares of Illumina (ILMN) rose 4% after the company priced 3.5 million shares of stock at $25.50 apiece. The genetics-diagnostics company expects to reap net proceeds of roughly $83.6 million from the offering. The company also granted underwriters an option to buy an additional 525,000 shares to cover over-allotments. The underwriting syndicate is being led by Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. Shares were trading up $1.05 to $26.95.QLT (QLTI) fell 2% after the company delayed the start of its phase IIa trial of Atrigel, which is being developed for use in patients who suffer from a hormonal disorder called acromegaly, a syndrome characterized by excessive growth of the hands and feet. The decision to delay the trial was made in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration after adverse events occurred in a primate toxicology study. QLT expects to save about $1 million in 2006 research and development costs because of the delay. The FDA will determine whether patient enrollment can take place after it has a chance to evaluate data from the toxicology study. Shares were trading down 13 cents to $7.51.
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