Health Stocks in Motion

NeoPharm rises.
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Shares of

NeoPharm

(NEOL)

were among the best-performing health-related stocks Wednesday, rising 9% after the company said the Food and Drug Administration approved an amendment to the company's phase III clinical trial of its brain cancer treatment.

The company's special protocol assessment will now include an interim efficacy analysis of data from its phase III Precise trial of cintredekin besudotox for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme. Previously, the FDA suggested that NeoPharma consider proposing an interim efficacy analysis, NeoPharm said. "If the interim efficacy analysis is positive, NeoPharm will have an opportunity to submit a biologic license application at an earlier point in time than would otherwise be the case," the company said.

The interim efficacy analysis trigger, which is projected to occur during the second quarter of 2006, will be conducted after notification of 160 deaths to demonstrate potential superiority of cintredekin besodotox over Gliadel wafer. The final trigger, expected to occur during the fourth quarter of 2006, will take place after notification of 215 deaths. Shares were recently trading up $1.13 to $13.36.

Avanir Pharmaceuticals

(AVN)

rose 8% after the company named Eric Brandt as chief executive. Brandt, who currently serves as chief financial officer at

Allergan

(AGN) - Get Report

replaces Gerald Yakatan who resigned in May. Brandt's appointment is effective Sept. 6 -- a day after he officially steps down from his CFO post at Allergan. Shares of Avanir were trading up 26 cents to $3.60.

Shares of

Synovis Life Technologies

(SYNO)

rose 4% after the company posted third-quarter results that topped expectations. The medical device company reported earnings of $355,000, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $15.6 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 1 cent a share on sales of $14.8 million. A year ago the company earned $187,000, or 2 cents a share, on sales of $15.1 million. Synovis said recent results were buoyed by strength in its interventional business and momentum of its microsurgery product line. Sales of bariatric Peri-Strips, meanwhile, continued to prove challenging, as the company reported sales of $2.1 million, down substantially from last year's $3.2 million. Shares were trading up 38 cents to $9.43.

Other health care volume movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, up 30 cents to $25.39;

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, up 29 cents to $27.87;

Guidant

(GDT)

, up 7 cents to $71.77;

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

, unchanged at $62.76;

Boston Scientific

(BSX) - Get Report

, up 68 cents to $26.60;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, up 80 cents to $79.62

Eyetech Pharmaceuticals

(EYET)

, up 9 cents to $18.22;

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

, down 6 cents to $24.36; and

Schering-Plough

(SGP)

, down 4 cents to $20.81.