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Monday's Health Winners & Losers

Kyphon is higher.
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Gilead Sciences


rose after Rodman & Renshaw upgraded the shares of the HIV drugmaker, citing strong sales trends and government recommendations that individuals be tested regularly for the disease.

Based on recent data from IMS Health, biotech analyst Michael King increased his forecast for sales of Gilead's drug Atripla. The analyst upgraded the stock to market-outperform from market perform and established a price target of $76 by the end of 2007.

"Our read of the IMS data suggests Atripla will blow away our previous 4Q06 estimate of $96 million, and handsomely beat the Street consensus of $123 million," King wrote in a research report. "Recent IMS trends indicate that total prescriptions will grow during 4Q06 by over 200%. As a result of these data, we are increasing our 4Q06 Atripla estimate from $96 million to $172 million."

Gilead's shares rose 3.4% to $67.45.



, a maker of medical devices, set plans to acquire privately held St. Francis Medical Technologies, sending its shares higher.

Kyphon will buy St. Francis for $525 million in cash, plus additional revenue-based contingent payments of up to $200 million. Any contingent payments won't be made before 2008.

Pending regulatory approval, Kyphon expects to close the deal in the first quarter. Upon closing, Kyphon will incur an estimated charge of roughly $35 million to $50 million for acquired in-process research and development expenses. Shares of Kyphon gained 23.1% to $41.27.



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TheStreet Recommends

shares plunged as investors reacted with fury to the company's decision to stop working on a cholesterol drug that had been viewed as the foundation for the years ahead.

In a staggering setback for its research efforts and an ominous warning about future sales and earnings growth, Pfizer said Saturday night that it would halt development on torcetrapib because more deaths than expected occurred in a big clinical trial. Shares of Pfizer recently dropped $3.15, or 11.3%, to $24.71 in extremely heavy trading.

Forbes Medi-Tech


plunged 50% after saying its cholesterol-lowering drug failed to meet the company's goal in a Phase 2 trial.

The company said data from the trial showed the drug, FM-VP4, was dose responsive, produced a statistically significant reduction in so-called low-density lipoprotein, or "bad cholesterol," and maintained an excellent safety profile.

But Vancouver, British Columbia-based Forbes said the drug cut LDL cholesterol an average of 9% from baseline at 12 weeks, falling short of the company's 15% reduction target. Shares fell $1.18 to $1.19.




Onyx Pharmaceuticals


suffered a research setback, saying the experimental drug Nexavar failed to meet its goals in a study for the treatment of advanced skin cancer.

Shares of Onyx plunged on the news, falling 29.3% to $12.37. Bayer added 1.2% to $52.48.