Today's Health Winners and Losers

OccuLogix and InterMune fall after negative trial results.
Author:
Publish date:

Shares of

OccuLogix

(RHEO)

were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Friday, tumbling 67% after the company said its treatment for age-related blindness failed to meet its primary endpoint in a phase III clinical trial.

Shares of

TLC Vision

(TLCV)

, which owns 51% of OccuLogix, were also down Friday, falling some 25%. OccuLogix said its treatment system for the dry form of age-related macular degeneration didn't demonstrate a statistically significant difference compared to the placebo group. "An anomalous response of the control group," the company said, "is the principal reason that the primary efficacy endpoint was not met." Shares of OccuLogix were trading down $8.56 to $4.19, while shares of TLC Vision declined $2 to $5.93.

Mylan Laboratories

(MYL) - Get Report

climbed 11% after the drugmaker posted better-than-expected third-quarter results. The company earned $48.2 million, or 22 cents a share, on sales of $311.2 million. Excluding items, the company earned 25 cents a share in the December quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 24 cents a share, before items, on sales of $308.5 million. During the year-earlier quarter, the company earned $34.8 million, or 13 cents a share, on sales of $291 million.

Looking ahead, Mylan now projects fiscal 2006 earnings, before items, of 94 cents to $1 a share, narrowed from a previous forecast of 92 cents to $1.15 a share. For fiscal 2007, the company now sees earnings of $1.20 to $1.40 a share, compared with a previous forecast of $1.20 to $1.74 a share. Mylan projects fiscal 2007 sales of $1.25 billion to $1.36 billion, below Wall Street's prediction of $1.37 billion. Shares were trading up $2.05 to $21.35.

Shares of

Ventiv Health

(VTIV)

rose 8% after the company announced the acquisition of privately-held Adheris and lifted its 2006 earnings and sales guidance. Ventiv is buying Adheris, a provider of patient compliance and persistency programs, for $60 million in cash and stock. The acquisition, which will close late in the first quarter, is expected to immediately add to Ventiv's earnings.

Ventiv Health now sees 2006 earnings of $1.39 to $1.44 a share, up from an earlier view of $1.35 to $1.40 a share. The company boosted its sales projection to $685 million to $705 million from an earlier forecast of $650 million to $670 million. Analysts project 2006 earnings of $1.40 a share on sales of $666.2 million. Shares were up $1.89 to $26.94.

InterMune

(ITMN)

tumbled 12% after the drugmaker posted mixed fourth-quarter results, issued weak 2006 sales guidance, and halted its ovarian cancer trial. The company earned $59.7 million, or $1.84 a share. Results included a number of one-time items, including a gain of $85.1 million, or $2.63 a share, related to a divestiture. Without the gain and other one-time items, the company would have posted a loss of $8.6 million, or 27 cents a share. Analysts expected a loss of 66 cents a share. InterMune reported sales of $28.7 million, below analysts' forecast of $37.8 million. During the year-earlier quarter, the company posted a loss of $21.8 million, or 68 cents a share, on sales of $31.3 million.

Looking ahead, InterMune sees 2006 sales of $75 million to $100 million. Analysts project sales of $110.5 million. "The relatively wide revenue range at this time reflects the fact that InterMune does not promote Actimmune for IPF and several other factors affecting Actimmune revenue that are beyond the control of the company," InterMune said.

Separately, the company said that it halted its ovarian cancer trial because Actimmune plus chemotherapy failed to perform better than chemotherapy alone. Some 169 patients out of 426, or 39.7%, died, as compared with 128 patients out of 421, or 30.4%, who only received chemotherapy. "The results from this study suggest that Actimmune, which has generally been well-tolerated in studies across multiple disease states, may exacerbate the dose-limiting toxicities of cyotoxic chemotherapy drugs," the company said. "Consequently, we have no plans to initiate further studies of Actimmune in oncology or in combination with such chemotherapy regimens." Shares of InterMune were trading down $2.57 to $18.04.

Shares of

HealthSpring

(HS)

climbed 13% in their first day of trading. The managed care company priced 18.8 million shares at $19.50 a share, raising $367 million. The pricing was above the proposed range of $16 to $18 a share. HealthSpring plans to use proceeds from the offering to repay all of its outstanding debt, and for working capital and other general corporate needs. Shares were trading up $2.51 to $22.01.

Other health care volume movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, down 16 cents to $25.62;

Genta

(GNTA)

, down 3 cents to $3.15;

Schering-Plough

(SGP)

, down 13 cents to $18.85;

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

, up 18 cents to $22.74;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, up 2 cents to $74.68;

Elan

(ELN)

, down 17 cents to $15.44;

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

, down 24 cents to $57.41;

Boston Scientific

(BSX) - Get Report

, down 8 cents to $21.66;

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, up 63 cents to $34.45; and

Gilead Sciences

(GILD) - Get Report

, up 62 cents to $61.33.