shares rose 6% Wednesday after the drug developer said it received a special rare-disease designation from regulators for its experimental brain cancer drug Panzem.

The designation, called orphan drug status, is granted by the Food and Drug Administration when the agency determines that a drug intended to treat a rare disease meets a significant unmet medical need but may not bring in enough revenue to make up for its development costs. The FDA designation allows a company certain tax breaks, marketing exclusivity and a possible extended patent life. Shares were up 10 cents to $1.72 in recent trading.

Shares of


( BMET) fell along with the orthopedic device company's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, as it reported charges of $5.4 million due to restructuring and $9 million related to a severance package for its former CEO.

The effect of the charges may have been tempered, however, since earnings were in line with expectations and the company declared a cash dividend of 30 cents a share, payable July 21. After dipping early in the day, Biomet's shares were up 11 cents to $31.27.

Specialty pharmaceutical company



fell 5.3% to $5.85 Wednesday when the company said it entered an agreement with

King Pharmaceuticals

( KG) to market its once-a-day type 2 diabetes drug Glumetza.

According to the agreement, the companies will share all marketing expenses. Depomed will book revenue and pay King a fee from the gross profits. Depomed will be responsible for the manufacture and distribution of the drug, while King will bear costs of using its sales force to promote the product.

"The structure of this partnership is ideal, and very important to us as we become a revenue-driven company, said Depomed CEO Dr. John Fara. "We have gained access to one of the leading pharmaceutical sales forces and commercial organizations in the U.S., while retaining copromotion rights that will allow us in the future to leverage our experience from this partnership to begin building our own sales team," the CEO said in a press release.

Express Scripts


shares rose Wednesday on an upgrade of the pharmacy-benefit manager's stock by Susquehanna Financial Group.

Susquehanna increased its 2006 earnings estimates for Express Scripts by 3 cents to $3.19 and notes that shares are down by almost one-third from a 52-week high of $95. Shares were recently up 2% to $68.36.

The research firm says the PBM industry as a whole is trading at a discount to the group's historical average and will likely benefit from


(MRK) - Get Report

Zocor patent expiration last week. The PBMs are also well-positioned to benefit from the expiration of


(PFE) - Get Report

patent on the popular antidepressant Zoloft on June 30, Susquehanna says.

For its part, Pfizer's shares rose 8 cents to $22.88 after a British court upheld the company's patent on the active ingredient in its cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor. Lipitor is the top-selling drug in the world. The decision prevents generic-drug maker

Ranbaxy Laboratories

from selling its version before the general patent on the drug expires in 2011.

Other health care movers include surgical-device maker

Lifecore Biomedical

( LCBM), up $1.08, or 7.7%, to $15.19; specialty pharmaceutical company



, up 80 cents, or 4%, to $20.80,


( NHRX), up 32 cents, or 10.1%, to $3.26 and

BioDelivery Sciences International

(BDSI) - Get Report

, up 23 cents, or 12%, to $2.15.

Shares of

Nucryst Pharmaceuticals

( NCST), a maker of anti-infective and anti-inflammatory treatments, fell $1.35, or 10.6%, to $11.39, and research-stage biopharmaceutical company

Avalon Pharmaceuticals

( AVRX) fell 25 cents, or 6.2%, to $3.81.