Updated from 2:11 p.m. EDTShares of Forbes Medi-Tech ( FMTI) were among the best-performing health and pharmaceutical stocks Wednesday after the company announced a three-year supply agreement with an unidentified customer. The $24.4 million sales contract is scheduled to begin in January 2005 and will involve the company's Phyto-Source unit and a leading multinational ingredient company. The biopharmaceutical company said the supply agreement would allow it to expand its phytosterol business and allow it to possibly increase production capabilities. Shares of Forbes Medi-Tech traded up 49 cents, or 26.3%, to $2.35. Nymox Pharmaceutical ( NYMX) rose after it announced positive one-year prostrate drug trial results. The results from its phase II testing of NX-1207, a drug used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, showed symptomatic improvement in individuals treated with the drug. The company termed the improvement statistically significant. What's more, there were no significant adverse side effects during the trials. Benign prostatic hyperplasia affects about 50% of men over the age of 50 and close to 90% of men by the age of 80. Shares traded up 9 cents, or 3.9%, to $2.43. Shares of McKesson ( MCK) fell after the company warned that it would miss second-quarter earnings estimates. The drug wholesaler now expects to earn between 75 cents and 80 cents a share during the first half of the year. The company earned 53 cents a share during the first quarter, which would imply second quarter earnings of 22 cents to 27 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting second-quarter earnings of 50 cents a share. Looking ahead, McKesson reaffirmed its full-year earnings estimate of $2.20 to $2.35. Analysts are expecting earnings of $2.20 a share. Shares of McKesson traded down $4.85, or 15.2%, to $26.98. Third Wave Technologies ( TWTI) rose after the company announced that TriCore Reference Laboratories selected its Invader hepatitis C virus genotyping reagents for use in TriCore laboratories. The product, which was selected by TriCore after a head-to-head comparison of competing products, is being used by TriCore to develop assays that identify all six genotypes of the hepatitis C virus. Shares of Third Wave Technologies traded up 47 cents, to 8%, to $6.36.
Shares of Hi-Tech Pharmacal ( HITK) rose after the company posted first-quarter earnings and sales that were better than expected and reiterated its full-year sales growth target. The specialty pharmaceutical company posted a profit of 10 cents a share on sales of $12.1 million. The lone estimate called for the company to post earnings of 8 cents a share on sales of $11 million. Looking ahead, Hi-Tech reiterated its belief that 2005 sales will grow between 15% and 20%. Shares of Hi-Tech Pharmacal traded up $1.13, or 8.1%, to $15.13. Other health care volume movers included Pfizer ( PFE), up 3 cents to $32.77; Amgen ( AMGN), up 6 cents to $59.98; Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), up 41 cents to $58.27; Boston Scientific ( BSX), up 78 cents to $39.78; and Merck ( MRK), down 14 cents to $45.64.