Updated from 2:48 p.m. ESTShares of DJ Orthopedics ( DJO) were among the best-performing health and pharmaceutical stocks Monday, rising 14% after the company said that fourth-quarter sales would come in above expectations. The medical-device maker expects sales of $68 million, which compares favorably with the $54.6 million it posted a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been expecting sales of $65.4 million. OL 1000 sales grew by 12% during the quarter, while the company's Regentek SpinaLogic product line saw a rebound as well. Full earnings results are scheduled for Feb. 8. Shares traded up $2.81 to $22.95. Isis Pharmaceuticals ( ISIS) rose 3% after the company said it would reorganize and refocus its resources on developing second-generation antisense drug candidates. As a result of the reorganization, the company said it would cut its workforce by 40%, reducing cash usage significantly. The cutbacks are expected to result in a fourth-quarter writedown of between $30 million and $40 million. In addition to the job cuts, Isis also terminated the development of two "lower priority" drugs. "We believe the prioritization of our drug portfolio, combined with the other measures we are taking, position the company for success in 2005 and the years to come," the company said. Shares traded up 15 cents to $5.16. Shares of American Pharmaceutical Partners ( APPX) rose 28.4% after the Food and Drug Administration approved the company's breast cancer drug Abraxane. The company said its drug is indicated for the treatment of breast cancer after failure of combination therapy for metastatic disease or relapse within six months of adjuvant chemotherapy. Shares traded up $11.01 to $49.72. Dyax ( DYAX) rose 9.4% after the company announced positive interim results from its phase II trial of DX-88, a drug used to treat hereditary angiodema. The company said the drug was well tolerated and that it was able to elicit a clinical response in a median time of 35 minutes. As a result of the promising data, Dyax plans to initiate a phase III trial during the first half of 2005. Shares traded up 62 cents to $7.20.
Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals ( VRTX) rose 2.8% after the company said its 2005 sales would come in above expectations. The company forecast sales of $150 million to $160 million, well above the $123.5 million that analysts had been expecting. Vertex expects to post a loss of between $125 million and $135 million. Analysts are expecting a full-year loss of $1.77 a share. Shares traded up 29 cents to $10.78. Other health care movers included Aastrom Biosciences ( ASTM), up 10 cents to $2.38; StemCells ( STEM), down 59 cents to $5.11; Pfizer ( PFE), up 14 cents to $26.44; Biopure ( BPUR), down 4 cents to 57 cents; Merck ( MRK), up 37 cents to $31.50; Schering-Plough ( SGP), up 4 cents to $21.25; Amgen ( AMGN), up 67 cents to $63.64; Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY), up 24 cents to $24.98; and Genentech ( DNA), up 18 cents to $54.43.