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Today's Health Winners and Losers

Novavax jumps after two venture capital firms buy a $20 million stake in the company.

Shares of

DJ Orthopedics


were among the best-performing health-related stocks Monday, climbing 19% after the medical-device maker agreed to buy orthopedic-device company Aircast for about $290 million in cash.

The deal, which could be completed by as early as March 30, is expected to be "highly accretive" to earnings some six to nine months following the close, DJ Orthopedics said. "The acquisition of the Aircast business will fit directly into the competencies of DJ Orthopedics and represents an important catalyst to our sales and earnings growth strategies on several fronts," DJ said in a statement.

Aircast had 2005 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $24.4 million, with sales of about $96.8 million. Shares of DJ Orthopedics were trading up $5.60 to $35.28.

Encore Medical


rose 2% after the orthopedic-device maker posted in-line fourth-quarter earnings. The company earned $3.2 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $75 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 6 cents a share and sales of $75.6 million. During the year-earlier quarter, the company posted earnings from continuing operations of $741,000, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $68.4 million. Shares were trading up 12 cents to $6.13.

Shares of



rose 9% after the drugmaker said it plans to sell 4.6 million shares of stock for $20 million to venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Prospect Venture Partners. Kleiner Perkins agreed to acquire $12.5 million worth of stock, while Prospect Venture Partners will buy the rest. Both firms agreed to not sell any shares for a minimum of 90 days, Novavax said in a statement.

Shares, which were sold at $4.35 apiece, were sold pursuant to an existing shelf registration statement. The proceeds will be used to fund general corporate purposes. Novavax shares were recently trading up 46 cents to $5.58.

Shares of


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jumped 12% after the biotech company and its partner, Valley Research, said their Ultra-Thin enzyme received Food and Drug Administration approval. The enzyme is designed to work with other enzymes to convert the starch present in corn and other sources into sugars that can be processed into ethanol and other products such as corn sweeteners.

"We believe Diversa's ability to discover and optimize new enzymes with differentiated features, like Ultra-Thin enzyme, has the potential to transform the ethanol industry," Diversa said. Shares of Diversa were trading up 91 cents to $8.40.



fell 1% after the company said its chief executive plans to retire, effective June 30. After Henry Blissenbach retires, Executive Chairman Richard Friedman will assume the role of interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found. Blissenbach, meanwhile, will serve as a consultant to the company for a year following the expiration of his contract in June.

"It has been a great privilege to contribute to the combination of these businesses," Blissenbach said. "BioScrip is poised to execute on its strategy of expansion in specialty pharmacy and infusion." Shares were trading down 5 cents to $7.91.

Other health care volume movers included

Generex Biotech


, up 28 cents to $2.50;



, up 16 cents to $26.53;



, up 68 cents to $75.43;

Johnson & Johnson


, up 45 cents to $58.21;



, up 39 cents to $35.49;

Boston Scientific


, up 59 cents to $24.89;



, down 2 cents to $14.09;

Bristol-Myers Squibb


, up 27 cents to $23.24; and



, up 19 cents to $18.99.