Health stocks climbed in alignment with the broader market midweek, amid news of various collaborations and updates from the sector.

Dutch company

Crucell

( CRXL) traded up $1.80, or 11.6%, to $17.27, on Wednesday after the company and

DSM Biologics

announced they had signed a deal with California-based

Avid BioServices

, pre-approving Avid to supply materials to its new drug development technology.

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals

(PPHM)

, parent company of Avid, rose 3 cents, or 9.4%, to 35 cents.

Also, Chinese company

Wuxi PharmaTech

(WX)

and Princeton, N.J.-based

Covance

(CVD)

said after Tuesday's market close that they will collaborate for preclinical development contracting in China. Wuxi shares added $2.73, or 15.3%, to $20.56 on Wednesday, while Covance shares ticked up $1.82, or 2.2%, to $85.19.

Elsewhere,

Hologic

(HOLX) - Get Report

said Wednesday that the Federal Trade Commission approved its $580 million buyout ($11.25 a share) of

Third Wave Technologies

(TWTI)

, granting an early termination of the antitrust review. The deal is still subject to completion of the tender offer set to expire on July 16.

Hologic traded up 2.8% to $22.72, while Third Wave edged up 7 cents, or 0.6%, to $11.20.

Meanwhile,

Barr Pharmaceuticals

( BRL) shares continued to rise a day after the company and

Bayer

came to terms on a generic version of Yasmin and Yaz oral contraceptive products. Bayer will provide Barr the generic products for launch prior to the patent expiration, and Barr will have sole responsibility to market the drug in the U.S. Barr plans to launch a generic version of Yasmin on or before July 1, 2008, and Yaz on or before July 1, 2011.

Barr's shares added 54 cents, or 1.3%, to $43.45 on Wednesday after trading up $1.66 a day earlier.

In analyst actions, JP Morgan initiated coverage on a slate of Big Pharma names Wednesday. The company gave overweight ratings to

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

and

Schering-Plough

( SGP). And it gave neutral ratings to

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

,

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

,

Wyeth

( WYE) and

Bristol-Myers

(BMY) - Get Report

.

Those stocks are all components of the Amex pharmaceutical index, which rose 0.7% to 291.88. The Nasdaq and Amex biotechnology indices slightly outperformed the pharma index, adding 2.1% and 1.3% respectively.