Health stocks met the weekend on a high note, after spending most of the week in the red.
The Nasdaq and Amex biotechnology indices were up 1.1% and 0.8%, respectively, on Friday. The Amex pharmaceutical index gained 3.04, or almost 1%, landing at 313.2. Every single component on the pharma index was in positive territory, led by
Bristol Myers Squibb
. King added 8.5%, while Pfizer and Bristol Myers tacked on around 2% each.
King disclosed Friday that it has bid $1.4 billion for
King has offered to buy Alpharma for $33 a share in cash, but Alpharma's board rejected the offer. However, King CEO Brian Markison said in a letter to Alpharma CEO Dean Mitchell, that if the companies are unable to negotiate a transaction, King is ready to bring it to Alpharma's shareholders directly.
Alpharma shares surged $10.61, or 44%, to $34.65.
In regulatory news,
said Friday that the Food and Drug Administration approved its Nplate for the long-term treatment of low blood platelets in patients with chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).
Chronic ITP affects an estimated 60,000 adult patients in the U.S. and is considered an unmet need - or an orphan designation -- by the FDA. Investors were expecting the FDA's decision in late July but were forced to wait due a delay in the agency's review. Amgen didn't disclose the reason or the delay.
Amgen shares were up by a penny to $63.82 on Friday.
Robert Baird analyst Christopher Raymond and Cowen analyst Phil Nadeau reaffirmed outperform ratings for
last week. Raymond lowered his price target to $45 from $48.
BioMarin shares added $1.49, or 5.6%, to $28.17 on Friday. The stock traded lower in August on soft summer sales of the company's lead drug Kuvan.
Also, Wachovia cut its rating for orthopedic implant maker
to underperform from market perform. The stock shed 96 cents, or 5.3%, to $18.21 on Friday.