Updated from 1:31 p.m. EDT

Shares of

NitroMed

( NTMD) were among the best-performing health and pharmaceutical stocks Monday after the company announced a high-profile hiring.

The pharmaceutical company named Mark Pavao as senior vice president of sales and marketing. Pavao most recently worked as vice president of neuroscience marketing at

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

. The hiring comes as NitroMed prepares to launch its BiDil drug, which is used in the treatment of heart failure in African Americans. In July, as a result of the significant survival benefits of the drug, NitroMed halted its clinical trials prematurely, on the recommendation of its steering committee and an independent board. Assuming the drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the company hopes to launch it some time during 2005. Shares of NitroMed traded up $5.05, or 28.9%, to $22.53.

Rigel Pharmaceuticals

(RIGL) - Get Report

rose after the company reported promising results from its phase II study evaluating R112, which is used to treat symptoms of allergic rhinitis. The primary objective of the study was to measure the safety and efficacy of R112 for allergic rhinitis. The intranasal medication was significantly more effective than a placebo, the company said. What's more, there were no significant adverse events associated with the drug. It plans to continue its evaluation of the experimental allergy medicine in phase III trials. Shares of Rigel Pharmaceuticals traded up $5.14, or 37.7%, to $18.79.

Shares of

Encore Medical

( ENMC) fell after the company reported weaker-than-expected second-quarter earnings and sales. The orthopedic company earned 4 cents a share on sales of $29.3 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected it to earn 5 cents a share on sales of $30.2 million. A year ago, it earned a penny a share on sales of $26.5 million. Shares of Encore Medical traded down $1.05, or 19%, to $4.48.

Immunomedics

(IMMU) - Get Report

fell after it sold nearly 4.2 million shares for $3.61 apiece to institutional investors at a discount to Friday's closing price. The biopharmaceutical company, which raised about $15.1 million, also granted purchasers the right to buy an additional 4.2 million shares for $3.97, by no later than Nov. 24. Shares of Immunomedics traded down 59 cents, or 14.9%, to $3.38.

Shares of

Invacare

(IVC) - Get Report

rose after the company agreed to acquire WP Domus for about $230 million. The acquisition is expected to be accretive, adding earnings of about 25 cents to 30 cents a share during 2005. Due to the timing of regulatory approval, Invacare said that even though the acquisition will be immediately accretive, its benefit would be minimal during 2004. Shares of Invacare traded up $4.40, or 10.9%, to $44.95.

Other health care volume movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, up 24 cents to $32.20;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, down 57 cents to $56.31;

Boston Scientific

(BSX) - Get Report

, down 82 cents to $37.44; Bristol-Myers Squibb, up 26 cents to $23.16;

Genentech

( DNA), down $1.72 to $46.96; and

Schering-Plough

( SGP), down 14 cents to $19.32.