Shares of

PRA International

( PRAI) were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Wednesday, sliding 14% after the clinical research organization lowered its 2005 earnings and sales projections.

The company now expects to report earnings of $1.30 a share and service revenue of about $295 million. In October, the company forecast earnings of $1.32 to $1.36 a share and service revenue of $300 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call, meanwhile, predicted earnings of $1.35 a share and revenue of $300.9 million.

For 2006, PRA International sees earnings, excluding stock option expense, of $1.37 to $1.41 a share, below analysts' average forecast of $1.50. The company expects 2006 service revenue of $325 million to $330 million, shy of Wall Street's target of $331.7 million. Shares recently were trading down $3.95 to $23.98.

Genentech

( DNA) fell 4% after the biotech company posted fourth-quarter earnings that merely matched analyst expectations. The company, which has a history of exceeding Wall Street's forecasts, posted earnings of $339.2 million, or 31 cents a share, on sales of $1.89 billion. Excluding items, the company earned $363.3 million, or 34 cents a share, in line with analysts' target. A year earlier, Genentech reported a profit of $206.6 million, or 19 cents a share, on sales of $1.32 billion. Excluding items, the company posted earnings of $225.4 million, or 21 cents a share, for the year-earlier period.

For 2006, Genentech projects earnings growth of about 35% to 45% over 2005. Based on 2005 earnings of $1.28 a share, the forecast translates into earnings of $1.73 to $1.86 a share. Analysts expect earnings of $1.81 a share. Following the earnings report, Merrill Lynch downgraded Genentech to neutral from buy, citing lower-than-expected sales of the cancer drug Avastin. Shares were trading down $4.03 to $89.31.

Shares of

TriPath Imaging

( TPTH) jumped 18% after the maker of diagnostic tests reiterated its 2005 guidance and boosted its 2006 earnings forecast. The company expects to report 2005 earnings of 15 cents to 17 cents a share, at or above analysts' mean estimate of 15 cents. The company estimates sales of about $86 million, matching Wall Street's target.

For 2006, the company sees earnings of 19 cents to 22 cents a share on sales of $102 million to $105 million. TriPath previously projected that 2006 earnings would be similar to 2005 results. TriPath attributed the better outlook on reductions in research and development costs. Analysts are projecting 2006 earnings of 15 cents a share and sales of $102.9 million. Shares were trading up $1.15 to $7.42.

Allscripts Healthcare

(MDRX) - Get Report

rose 13% after Piper Jaffray upgraded the stock to outperform from market perform. The firm also raised its price target on the stock to $20 a share from $17. Piper said that recent uncertainty surrounding growth would yield to long-term growth during 2006. Allscripts shares recently were trading up $1.80 to $16.55.

Shares of

West Pharmaceutical Services

(WST) - Get Report

added 6% after the company raised its fourth-quarter and full-year guidance. The company, which makes components and systems for injectable drug delivery, expects to report fourth-quarter earnings of 35 cents to 38 cents a share, up from its previous view of 30 cents to 35 cents a share. Analysts are looking for fourth-quarter earnings of 30 cents a share.

For the full year, West Pharmaceutical raised its earnings projection to $1.35 to $1.38 a share from an earlier view of $1.30 to $1.35 a share. The company puts 2005 sales around $700 million, and continues to anticipate 2006 sales of $810 million to $830 million. For all of 2005, analysts are projecting earnings of $1.31 a share on sales of $699 million. Shares were up $1.64 to $27.49.

Other health care volume movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, up 31 cents to $24.75;

Elan

(ELN)

, up 62 cents to $15.42;

Boston Scientific

(BSX) - Get Report

, down 99 cents to $25.49;

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

, down 4 cents to $22.57;

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

, down 62 cents to $62.48;

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, up 16 cents to $33.49;

Schering-Plough

( SGP), down 9 cents to $20.26;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, down 46 cents to $77.52; and

UnitedHealth Group

(UNH) - Get Report

, down 78 cents to $61.83.