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Thursday's Health Winners & Losers

Updated from 2:13 p.m. EDT

Biotech and pharmaceutical stocks generally tracked the climbing broader market indices Thursday, but among those bucking the trend was Sanofi-Aventis (SNY - Get Report), which was still smarting from a U.S. regulatory hit the day before.

Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended the agency reject Sanofi's Zimulti , which is sold in foreign markets under the name Acomplia, in part over concern that the weight-loss drug increases the risk of suicidal thinking.

Shares of France-based Sanofi closed down $1.74, or 4%, to $41.33, and that weighed on the Amex Pharmaceutical Index, of which Sanofi is a component. The index was down 0.4% at 352.07.

Getting a regulatory lift, however, was Given Imaging (GIVN). The Israel-based gastrointestinal diagnostics company climbed 5.2% higher after receiving FDA clearance for its next-generation PillCam ESO 2 video capsule for imaging the esophagus. Exclusive U.S. marketing rights for PillCam ESO have been granted to InScope, a division of Ethicon Endo-Surgery, a Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) company. Given Imaging was up $1.31 at $26.38.

Study news also moved stocks in the sector. Swinging more than 12% higher was DepoMed (DEPO - Get Report), which announced after Wednesday's market close that it had begun dosing patients in a phase II trial for Gabapentin GR for the treatment of menopausal hot flashes. Gabapentin GR is an extended-release formulation of gabapentin, an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of seizures and postherpetic neuralgia. DepoMed closed up 54 cents at $5.

Taking the downward tack on study results was Barrier Therapeutics (BTRX), which announced results of a phase II/III study of a dermatology treatment that missed statistical significance for the study's primary endpoint. The pharmaceutical company said it has no plans to further develop liarozole, which was meant to treat lamellar ichthyosis, a rare genetic disorder that causes thick scaling of the skin. Shares closed down 24 cents, or 3.7%, at $6.32.

The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, of which both DepoMed and Barrier Therapeutics are components, was up 0.6% at 823.43.

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