Updated from 11:14 a.m. EDT Shares of NitroMed ( NTMD) were among the best-performing biotech and pharmaceutical stocks Monday after the company halted a phase III trial, citing
strong clinical results in its BiDil heart drug . The trial was stopped "because of the significant survival benefit seen with the drug," the company said. The African-American Heart Failure trial enrolled more than 1,000 patients at 170 sites across the U.S. Trial data is expected to be available in the fourth quarter, and NitroMed hopes to have the resources in place to commercially launch the product in early 2005, pending Food and Drug Administration approval. Shares of NitroMed traded up $4.31, or 73.1%, to $10.21. Biolase Technology ( BLTI) fell after it warned that second-quarter earnings and sales would not meet forecasts and warned that third-quarter sales would fall short of expectations. It now expects to report second-quarter earnings that are similar to its first-quarter results of 3 cents a share on sales of $14.6 million to $14.8 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected it to earn 6 cents a share on sales of $16.5 million. For the third quarter, it now expects to report sales of $15 million to $16 million. Analysts had expected it to report sales of $17.8 million. Shares of Biolase Technology traded down $3.27, or 27.1%, to $8.78. Boston Scientific ( BSX) fell after it recalled 96,000 coronary stents. The stents were recalled because of balloon deflation difficulties in angioplasty procedures . The company said the flaw led to three patient deaths and injuries in 43 others. As a result of the recall, the company postponed its second-quarter earnings by a week. Shares of Boston Scientific traded down $1.25, or 3.3%, to $36.15. Other health care volume movers included Pfizer ( PFE), down 27 cents to $32.11; Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), down 40 cents to $56.40; Amgen ( AMGN), down 12 cents to $55.61; Genentech ( DNA), down $1.31 to $49.76; Schering-Plough ( SGP), unchanged at $18.70; and Guidant ( GDT), down $1.80 to $52.75.