Skip to main content

Health stocks were mixed on light news at the end of the holiday-shortened week Friday.

The Nasdaq and Amex biotechnology indices were down 0.1% and 0.6%, respectively. The Amex Pharmaceutical index, however, added 0.8%, with components


( SGP) and


(SNY) - Get Sanofi Sponsored ADR Report

recording 3% and 1.5% gains.

On the biotech side,

Biogen Idec

(BIIB) - Get Biogen Inc. Report

fell 1.5%, while


(AMGN) - Get Amgen Inc. Report

added 1.5%.

Meanwhile, a Food and Drug Administration panel unanimously voted to recommend the agency approve


TheStreet Recommends

(GSK) - Get GlaxoSmithKline plc Sponsored ADR Report



(LGND) - Get Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated Report

blood-disorder drug Promacta for short-term use, after documents posted to the FDA Web site ahead of the meeting suggested the vote would be otherwise. The FDA isn't required to follow the advice of advisory panels but usually does.

Ligand shares soared more than 50%, to about $3.60, after having taken a hit earlier in the week on the negative panel pre-briefing. Glaxo shares added 60 cents, or 1.4%, to $44.58.


Merck KGaA

said an advisory committee

recommended European regulators approve

Erbitux for first-line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer in patients with KRAS wild-type tumors.

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report




, which market the drug in the U.S., saw shares rise 1.4% and 0.8%, respectively.


( DNA) -- which markets a competing cancer drug, Avastin -- saw shares edge down 0.3% to $70.77.

In earnings,

Medical Action Industries


dove some 20%, to $13.26 after the disposable-medical-product company missed quarterly earnings expectations. The company reported profit of $2.8 million, or 17 cents a share, down from $3.2 million, or 19 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 4% to $72.1 million, but also fell short of Wall Street's view.

The Thomson Reuters consensus target was for a profit of 21 cents a share, on $76.6 million in revenue.

Implementing cost-cutting initiatives, biopharmaceutical company


( PCOP) said it will eliminate 15% of its workforce. The company said it will focus on its later-stage discovery programs, including its lead midstage candidate, PS433540, a potential treatment for high blood pressure and diabetic kidney disease. The cutbacks are expected to generate at least $10 million in savings in 2009.

Pharmacopeia shares edged down 2 cents, or 0.5%, to $4.22.