Biotech stocks were riding a wave of positive news today, as research breakthroughs from a couple of individual companies sent the sector higher. The

Nasdaq Biotech Index

rode the swell to a 3.2% gain, while the

Dow Jones U.S. Biotech Index

climbed 2.6%.

Myriad Genetics

(MYGN) - Get Report

said this morning that it discovered the human gene responsible for high total cholesterol and high density lipoprotein levels in people who have suffered heart attacks at an early age. The news sent Myriad's stock higher by 9.9% to $77.45.

Human Genome Sciences


also made an announcement this morning that turned into a positive for the stock. The company said it received approval from the

Food and Drug Administration

to test the growth hormone


in a new investigational application. The company's stock tested prices above $74 before slipping back to $73.22, still up 4.6% on the day.

Strong sales of

Idec Pharmaceuticals'


cancer-fighting drug



Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's

biotech analyst Caroline Copithorne to raise her forecast for the company yesterday.

Banc of America's

Eric Ende also recently raised his estimates on the company. Idec, which has gained 21.8% in the last week, rose 5.6% to $72.87 today.


Thomas Weisel Partners

analyst Scott Greenstone raised his rating on



to strong buy from buy, saying that the "visibility of the company's growth has never been better." Affymetrix gained 9.3% to $49.20, but remains well below its 52-week high of $103.75.

Several other stocks within the sector also gained ground.

Genome Therapeutics

(GENE) - Get Report

rose 10.9% to $16.29.



rose 8% to $44.05, while

Millennium Pharmaceuticals


posted a gain of 5% to $42.80.


(AMGN) - Get Report

hovered around the flatline, climbing 0.1% to $69.95.