Shares of

Ventana Medical Systems

(VMSI)

were among the best-performing health-related stocks Friday, jumping 19% after the maker of reagents and other instruments posted better-than-expected first-quarter results.

The company earned $5 million, or 14 cents a share, on revenue of $54.1 million. The results included stock-based compensation costs of $861,000, or 2 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 12 cents a share and revenue of $51.7 million. During the year-earlier quarter, the company earned $4.6 million, or 13 cents a share, on revenue of $45 million.

For 2006, Ventana continues to project earnings, excluding stock-based compensation costs, of 95 cents a share. Including stock-based compensation costs, the company sees earnings of 86 cents a share. Ventana predicts revenue of $236 million to $238 million. Analysts project earnings of 83 cents a share and revenue of $237 million. Shares were trading up $7.78 to $48.58. In earlier trading, the shares hit a 52-week high of $48.98, surpassing the high of $44.95 reached June 15.

Acadia Pharmaceuticals

(ACAD) - Get Report

slumped 9% after the biopharmaceutical company priced its stock offering at $12 a share. The company sold about 4.95 million shares at $12 a share, raising net proceeds of about $55.6 million. The price represents a 6% discount to Thursday's closing price of $12.72. Banc of America Securities and Lehman Brothers led the underwriting syndicate. Shares were trading down $1.16 to $11.56.

Shares of

Intuitive Surgical

(ISRG) - Get Report

vaulted 21% after the surgical robotics company posted first-quarter results that were well above expectations. The company earned $14.5 million, or 38 cents a share, on revenue of $77.3 million. Analysts expected earnings of 20 cents a share on revenue of $62.8 million. During the year-earlier period, the company earned $9.1 million, or 25 cents a share, on revenue of $41.6 million.

During the recent period, the company sold 35 da Vinci surgical systems, up from 19 a year ago. System revenue jumped 99% to $42.4 million. Shares were up $22.06 to $125.23.

Coventry Health Care

( CVH) rose 8% after the managed health care company posted better-than-expected first-quarter results. The company's earnings rose to $121 million, or 74 cents a share, from $112.7 million, or 73 cents a share, a year earlier. The earnings per share beat analysts' mean estimate by a penny. Revenue rose to $1.94 billion from $1.57 billion last year, surpassing Wall Street's forecast of $1.92 billion.

Looking ahead, Coventry sees second-quarter earnings of 80 cents to 82 cents a share, bracketing analysts' mean estimate of 81 cents. The company predicts revenue of $1.92 billion to $1.97 billion, compared with analysts' projection of $1.98 billion. Coventry shares were trading at $49.38, up $3.68.

Shares of

LifePoint Hospitals

(LPNT)

rose 7% after the hospital operator posted first-quarter results that were well above expectations. The company earned $38.1 million, or 68 cents a share, on revenue of $589.6 million. Excluding items, the company earned $33.8 million, or 60 cents a share. Analysts expected earnings of 52 cents a share, before items, on revenue of about $583 million. A year ago, the company earned $25.8 million, or 63 cents a share, on revenue of $272 million. Shares were trading up $2.17 to $31.89.

Other health care volume movers Friday included

Aetna

(AET)

, up $1.42 to $38.42;

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, up 20 cents to $25.06;

Boston Scientific

(BSX) - Get Report

, up 10 cents to $23.40;

UnitedHealth Group

(UNH) - Get Report

, up $1.03 to $48.78;

WellPoint

(WLP)

, up $2.69 to $70.19;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, up 38 cents to $67.75;

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

, up 25 cents to $25.52;

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

, down 6 cents to $58.59;

Medtronic

(MDT) - Get Report

, up 31 cents to $50.20;

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, down 7 cents to $34.53; and

Schering-Plough

( SGP), down 2 cents to $19.24.