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Thursday's Health Winners & Losers

Updated from 2:08 p.m. EDT

Geron (GERN) was the best health care performer of Thursday's sluggish session, following positive news out of a recently study.

Shares jumped 15.1% after Geron said that its scientists have seen progress in using embryonic stem cells as an effective treatment for type 1 diabetes. Recently, Geron closed up $1.24o $9.48

Despite the advance in its stock, Geron was unable to support the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which slumped 0.7. Among its other components, Genzyme (GENZ) lost 3.2% and Amgen (AMGN) shed 1.2%.

Angiotech Pharmaceuticals (ANPI) was up 5.2% after a regulatory approval for a wound closure product. The company's Quill SRS received European approval and is expected to launch there at midyear. Recently, Angio closed up 34 cents at $6.89.

Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX) was another winner, courtesy of an upgrade from Friedman Billings. The firm raised its rating for Onyx to market perform from underperform, while nearly doubling its stock price target to $30 from $17.

An analyst with Friedman said it will take years for Pfizer (PFE) to come up with a drug that can compete with Onyx's a liver cancer treatment, Nexavar. Recently, Onyx added 57 cents, or 1.8%, to $31.87. Pfizer was down by 4 cents earlier in the day but closed up 4 cents at $27.36.

Also among winners, Avanir Pharmaceutical (AVNR) was higher by 21.8%, Dendreon (DNDN) climbed 6.5%, and CV Therapeutics (CVTX) was up 6.2%.

On the losing side, medical device makers were having a rough session. Among individual names, Boston Scientific (BSX) fell 2.3%, Medtronic (MDT) slumped 1.6%, and St. Jude Medical (STJ) was off 1.2%.

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