Shares of

Axonyx

( AXYX) were among the best-performing health-related stocks Tuesday, climbing 16% after the company said a subgroup benefited from Phenserine, the company's Alzheimer's drug that failed a clinical trial earlier this year.

Axonyx said that patients taking 15 milligrams of the drug twice daily demonstrated a statistically significant benefit over the placebo group. Patients who took 10 mg twice daily didn't not show a statistically significant benefit compared to the placebo group, the company said. Axonyx said it believes the data support its position that higher doses of Phenserine could be effective in treating the signs and symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.

In early February, Axonyx shares tumbled more than 60% after the company said that Phenserine didn't show an improvement over a placebo in a Phase III trial. In November, the company said it wouldn't commit further resources to developing the drug and said it would seek a partner for the compound. Axonyx shares recently were trading up 14 cents to 99 cents.

Express Scripts

(ESRX)

rose 6% after the pharmacy benefit manager offered a 2006 earnings forecast that topped Wall Street's expectations. The company expects earnings of between $3.10 and $3.22 a share, including stock option expenses of 10 cents a share. Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been expecting earnings of $2.98 a share.

"Our positive outlook for 2006 reflects the strength of our core business and the success of our business model," Express Scripts said, attributing its rosy outlook to a host of items. "The drivers of our growth, including generic utilization, home delivery, specialty pharmacy, preferred formulary compliance and lower drug purchasing costs, will produce significant savings for our clients and better performance for our company," the company said. Shares were trading up $4.59 to $84.48.

Shares of

ViroPharma

(VPHM)

fell 3% after the company said it plans to sell 7 million shares of stock in a public offering. The company also granted underwriters an option to buy an additional 1.05 million shares to cover over-allotments. The drug developer said it will use proceeds from the sale to fund working capital and general corporate needs. ViroPharma may also use some of the proceeds to repay all or a portion of its 6% convertible notes due March 2007. Shares were down 43 cents to $16.57.

Depomed

(DEPO)

climbed 15% after

Biovail

( BVF) launched the diabetes drug Glumetza in Canada. The launch of Glumetza, which the two companies co-developed, appears to mark an end to the animosity between the two companies. On Nov. 16, Depomed announced that it sued Biovail on grounds that Biovail breached its contractual obligations under a 2002 license agreement the companies signed. Specifically, Depomed said that Biovail didn't bring Glumetza to market quickly enough. A week later, the two companies entered into a non-binding term sheet aimed at resolving the dispute and announced a short-term standstill arrangement related to the litigation.

Glumetza, which received U.S. and Canadian regulatory approval earlier this year, is an extended-release formulation of metformin and is intended to control diabetes mellitus, a condition that is characterized by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin activity, or both. Shares of Depomed traded up 72 cents to $6, while shares of Biovail rose 57 cents, or 2%, to $23.56.

Other health care volume movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, down 4 cents to $21.55;

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, up 56 cents $30.12;

Novavax

(NVAX) - Get Report

, up 19 cents to $3.20;

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

, down 25 cents to $62.15;

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

, down 12 cents to $21.99;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, down 10 cents to $81.23;

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries

(TEVA) - Get Report

, up 24 cents to $41.50;

Schering-Plough

( SGP), down 16 cents to $19.29;

Gilead Sciences

(GILD) - Get Report

, down 6 cents to $52.06.