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Friday's Health Winners & Losers

Biotech stocks edged higher in light trading Friday.

Biotech stocks rose along with the wider market Friday, in a half-day light in trading and news.

According to new data published in U.K. medical journal

The Lancet



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oral rotavirus vaccine candidate protects against the five most commonly circulating rotavirus types. If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the vaccine would complete the rotavirus vaccination series by four months of age.

Glaxo's Biologics License Application (BLA) for the candidate rotavirus vaccine is currently under review by the FDA. It is proposed that the vaccine would be given in two oral doses beginning at six weeks of age and completed by 24 weeks of age, with a minimum four-week interval between the doses. If approved, the vaccine could be integrated into the current vaccine schedule at the two- and four-month immunization visits.

Also Friday, the FDA released a safety review of flu products and recommended adding label precautions about neurological problems (including hallucinations and convulsions) observed in children who had taken Glaxo's Relenza and


Tamiflu. A panel of pediatric experts will review the safety of flu drugs in children next week.

Glaxo shares closed up $2.92, or 6.1%, to $50.79. The stock is a component of the Amex Pharmaceutical Index, which closed up 9.60 points, or 2.8%, to 344.93.


Bristol Myers Squibb

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Pierre Fabre Medicamente

, a privately owned French company, said Friday they are terminating their license agreement for chemotherapy candidate vinflunine, intended to treat advanced bladder cancer and other tumor types. Bristol-Myers, in a press release, said it would return all rights to Pierre Fabre, based on the review of the clinical development program and its decision not to file a new drug application in the U.S. for bladder cancer.

Pierre Fabre said it plans to file for the registration of the drug in bladder cancer in Europe in the first quarter of 2008 and is considering further development options. Bristol was closed up 62 cents, or 2.3%, at $28.08.

Osiris Therapeutics

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said on Friday that CFO Cary J. Claiborne is resigning to pursue new professional opportunities. His resignation is effective Friday, but he'll be available for transition assistance through March 31. The corporate controller Phil Jacoby will serve as interim CFO and corporate secretary for the biotechnology company. The stock finished up 22 cents, or 2.1%,to $10.66 on low volume.

Among the few health care stocks down for the day were

Amylin Pharmaceuticals


, which shed 2 cents to $38.83 , and


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, which lost 19 cents to $62.35.