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Monday's Health Winners & Losers

Health indices were flat to start the week, but a few stocks managed to see big jumps Monday from deals, regulatory expectations, and analyst outlooks.

Possis Medical (POSS) popped after Bayer affiliate Medrad said it would buy the medical device company for $19.50 a share, or $361 million. The price is a 39% premium to Possis' average closing price for the 30 days prior to Feb. 8, and a 36% premium over the closing price Friday.

Medrad provides injection systems to diagnose cardiovascular and other diseases, while Possis Medical, provides devices to treat narrowed or blocked arteries and veins. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

Possis surged $5.01, or 35%, to $19.36.

Also seeing a big boost was Discovery Labs (DSCO), which tacked on 27 cents, or 14%, to $2.23.

Brean Murray analyst Jonathan Aschoff upgraded the stock to buy from hold, establishing a $5 price target. In addition, Jefferies & Co. analyst Adam Walsh affirmed his buy rating and $5 price target. Both analysts are optimistic about Food and Drug Administration approval this year of Discovery's Surfaxin to prevent respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants.

The FDA asked the company for more information on Surfaxin in April of 2006, and then accepted that additional information in November. The agency's goal date to complete its review for the drug is now May 1.

Discovery is a component of the Nasdaq biotechnology index, which edged up 0.24, or 0.03%, to 797.08.

Elsewhere, Adolor (ADLR) advanced following news that the FDA will take three more months to review Entereg, a treatment for constipation following abdominal surgery. Adolor and its partner, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), said the FDA now intends to make a decision by May 10.

Earlier in the review process, an FDA advisory panel voted 9 to 6 that the benefits of the drug outweigh increased risk of side effects, including heart attack, but it was concerned that a proposed risk management plan wasn't extensive enough.

Adolor and GlaxoSmithKline said late Friday that they submitted a revised risk management program for the drug last week. Cowen and Co. upgraded Adolor to outperform from neutral on Monday. Shares rose 10 cents, or 2.5%, to $4.03.

GlaxoSmithKline also was subject to a separate upgrade. UBS analyst Gbola Amusa lifted his rating for the stock to buy from neutral in light of last week's post-earnings selloff and potential upside this year. Its shares climbed 74 cents, or 1.8%, to $42.90.

Meanwhile, Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (KERX) advanced 3% after the company said it has completed a phase III clinical trial of its investigational drug Sulonex to treat patients with type 2 diabetes and persistent microalbuminuria, a type of kidney dysfunction.

The company anticipates being able to report top-line results from the study before the end of March 2008, and is targeting an NDA filing before year end. Shares edged up 27 cents, or 4.6%, to $6.21, on more than twice their average daily volume.

Among losers, Albany Molecular (AMRI) saw shares fall 6% after the company's fourth-quarter results and 2008 guidance fell short of estimates. The company reported a fourth-quarter loss of 3 cents a share, on revenue of $47.2 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had expected profit of a penny a share on $47.1 million in revenue.

For 2008, Albany Molecular projected earnings of 33 cents a share to 37 cents a share, below analysts' estimate of 41 cents a share. The stock slid 60 cents to $9.41.

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