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Thursday's Health Winners & Losers

Pfizer falls after missing profit targets for the first quarter.

Health stocks, particularly pharmaceuticals, traded lower on Thursday amid earnings and investor disappointment.

The Nasdaq and Amex biotechnology indices were both down roughly 1.3%, and the Amex pharmaceutical index was down 1.4%.

Gilead

(GILD) - Get Report

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was among the biotechs in the red. The company beat estimates Wednesday post close, but found itself down $1.76, or 3.4%, at $50.04 on Thursday. The HIV drug specialist reported earning $522.1 million, or 54 cents a share, before items, in the first quarter, compared to $447.6 million, or 46 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 22% to $1.26 billion. Results beat estimates of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial who'd expected earnings of 48 cents a share on $1.2 billion in revenue.

In other earnings news,

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

suffered from lost exclusivity of Norvasc and Zyrtec. The company earned $4 billion, or 61 cents a share, down from $4.8 billion, or 68 cents a share, in the 2007 period, on an adjusted basis. Revenue declined to $11.8 billion from $12.4 billion in the quarter. Results were short of the consensus estimate offered by analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial. They were looking for earnings of 66 cents a share on roughly $12 billion in revenue.

Pfizer's shares shed 82 cents, or 3.8%, to $20.30. Some of Pfizer's pharma peers,

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

,

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

,

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

and

AstraZeneca

(AZN) - Get Report

were also on the downtick. Lilly, Bristol and AstraZeneca fell more than 2%, and Merck gave up 1.7%.

Also on the decline,

Meridian Biosciences

(VIVO) - Get Report

fell $5.64, or 16.7%, to $28.09 Thursday. The company said it earned $7.3 million, or 18 cents a share, in the first quarter vs. $5.9 million, or 15 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Sales increased 13% to $36.2 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had predicted 19 cents a share on $37 million in revenue.

The company reiterated its guidance for earnings of 72 to 75 cents a share on sales of between $140 million and $142 million in 2008. Analysts had pegged 75 cents a share on revenue of $141 million.

Elsewhere, Regulus, a joint venture between

Isis

(ISIS)

and

Alnylam

(ALNY) - Get Report

announced a deal with

GlaxoSmithKline

(GSK) - Get Report

for microRNA, or small RNA that are thought to regulate genes linked to diseases like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

Glaxo will pay the pair $20 million upfront in a $15 million option fee and a $5 million note that will convert into Regulus stock under the certain conditions. Regulus could receive up to $144.5 million in future milestones, and also tiered royalties, on sales on each of four targeted therapeutics.

Isis shares added 5.2% to $17.39, while Alnylam and Glaxo traded down 0.4% and 0.1%, respectively.