Updated from 2:27 p.m. ESTShares of Kendle International were among the best-performing health-related stocks Monday, rising 35.8% after the clinical research organization posted big gains in fourth-quarter earnings and sales. The company earned $2.1 million, or 16 cents a share, on net service sales of $48 million. One analyst polled by Thomson First Call was expecting earnings of 9 cents a share. A year ago the company earned $513,000, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $40.1 million. For the full year, Kendle earned $3.6 million, or 27 cents a share, on sales of $172.9 million. During 2003, the company posted a loss of $1.7 million, or 13 cents a share, on sales of $156.2 million. Shares traded up $2.69 to $10.20. Discovery Laboratories ( DSCO) rose 10.9% after the company said the Food and Drug Administration tentatively approved its Surfaxin drug for use in preventing respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants. The company still needs to finalize labeling and correct previously reported manufacturing issues, but the FDA is not requiring any additional trials for final approval, the company said. Discovery Labs said that it expects to launch the drug, pending final FDA approval, during the fourth quarter of 2005 or the first quarter of 2006. Shares traded up 63 cents to $6.42. Shares of Encysive Pharmaceuticals rose 12.3% after the company said that a late-stage trial of its Thelin drug met its primary endpoint of improved six-minute-walk distance when compared with a placebo. A 50-milligram dose of Thelin improved the six-minute-walk distance by 24.2 meters and bosentan, currently the only approved treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension, improved the walk distance by 29.5 meters. Patients taking a 100 milligram dose of Thelin improved their walk distance by 31.4 meters when compared with a placebo. The company said that it would now focus on filing a new drug application with the FDA in April 2005 so that it could gain marketing approval. Shares traded up $1.29 to $11.80.
Specialty Laboratories ( SP - Get Report) fell 3.8% after the clinical test company announced the resignation of its CEO. Douglas Harrington will remain as CEO until March 29 and will assist the company in finding a permanent replacement. Kevin Sayer, the company's CFO, will serve as acting CEO once Harrington leaves in March. Shares traded down 39 cents to $9.80. Shares of QMed ( QMED) fell 7% after the company said it sold more than 635,000 shares in a private placement, raising $7.15 million. The $11.25 price tag represents a 13% discount to Friday's closing price of $12.90 and a 4% discount to the average closing price for the past 15 trading days ended Friday. The provider of disease management services said it expects the deal to close at the end of business today. Shares traded down 90 cents to $12. Other health care movers included Pfizer ( PFE), up 33 cents to $25.48; Aastrom Biosciences ( ASTM), down 19 cents to $2.71; Merck ( MRK - Get Report), up 20 cents to $29.41; Amgen ( AMGN), down 17 cents to $63.25; and Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), down 60 cents to $66.