Health Stocks in Motion

Tanox rises on positive Phase II data from its HIV drug.
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Shares of

Intuitive Surgical

(ISRG) - Get Report

were among the best-performing health-related stocks Wednesday, rising 27% after the surgical robotics company posted results that blew away third-quarter forecasts.

The company earned $20.7 million, or 55 cents a share, on sales of $60.9 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 29 cents a share and sales of $50 million. A year earlier, the company earned $6.1 million, or 17 cents a share, on sales of $35.5 million. During the most recent period, the company sold 30 of its da Vinci surgical systems, up from 18 a year ago. System revenue surged to $33.6 million from $19 million last year. Shares were recently trading up $19.47 to $91.46.

Kensey Nash

(KNSY)

fell 11% after the medical device company posted first-quarter results that disappointed Wall Street and forecast a weak second quarter. The company reported a loss of $182,752, or 2 cents a share, on total revenue of $12.7 million. On a pro forma basis, which excludes a depreciation charge and other one-time items, the company reported earnings of $1.2 million, or 10 cents a share. Analysts projected earnings of 19 cents a share and total revenue of $15.5 million. A year earlier, the company earned $3.2 million, or 26 cents a share, on sales of $15.1 million.

Looking ahead, Kensey Nash forecast second-quarter pro forma earnings of 11 cents to 13 cents a share, below analysts' mean estimate of 25 cents. The company sees total sales of $13.3 million to $14.1 million, short of Wall Street's expectation of $16.6 million. Shares traded down $2.96 to $24.24.

Tanox

(TNOX)

rose 12% after the company said its HIV inhibitor performed well in a Phase II trial. The study showed that TNX-355, in combination with an optimized background therapy, demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in viral load when compared to a placebo. "TNX-355 has the potential to provide considerable advantages over the current standard-of-care for HIV patients," the company said, "and we look forward to working with the FDA on next steps toward bring this therapy to a growing number of patients who have limited treatment alternatives." The company, which is still conducting Phase II testing, said it hopes to begin a Phase III study of the drug during 2006. Shares were up $1.50 to $13.99.

Shares of

Biosite

(BSTE)

fell 17% after the maker of medical tests posted third-quarter sales that fell below expectations and narrowed its 2005 guidance. For the third quarter, the company earned $12.6 million, or 68 cents a share, on sales of $69.7 million. Analysts predicted earnings of 68 cents a share and sales of $72 million. In the year-ago period, the company earned $10.4 million, or 60 cents a share, on sales of $61.2 million.

Biosite now expects 2005 earnings growth of 18% to 20%, compared to its previous estimate of 15% to 21%. Analysts are expecting earnings of $2.90 a share, or earnings growth of 20%. Biosite said sales, meanwhile, are now expected to grow by 17% to 19%, narrowed from its previous forecast of 16% to 20%. Wall Street targets sales of $292 million, or sales growth of 19%. Shares fell $11.41 to $55.75.

LifeCell

(LIFC)

dropped 10% after the company lowered its 2005 earnings guidance. The company, which develops products made from human tissue for use in surgical procedures, reported third-quarter earnings of $2.5 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $24.5 million. Results were hurt by a pretax charge related to the write-off of $1.4 million in inventory and by a $469,000 reserve for product returns related to a recall. Analysts expected earnings of 10 cents a share, with sales of $24.4 million. A year ago, the company earned $1.1 million, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $15.6 million.

For the full year, LifeCell now expects earnings of $11.7 million to $12.3 million, or 35 cents to 36 cents a share. Previously, the company projected it would earn $12.1 million to $13.3 million, or 37 cents to 40 cents a share. The company narrowed its sales projection to $92 million to $94 million from $90 million to $94 million. Analysts had forecast earnings of 39 cents a share and sales of $93.1 million. Shares were trading down $1.92 to $17.03.

Other health care volume movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, down 11 cents to $21.09;

Novavax

(NVAX) - Get Report

, down 18 cents to $5.35;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, down 3 cents to $75.96;

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

, down 59 cents to $62.99;

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, up 18 cents to $27.20;

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

, up 12 cents to $21.77;

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals

(BCRX) - Get Report

, up 37 cents to $15.67; and

Genentech

(DNA)

, up $1.61 to $89.98.