Shares of Dov Pharmaceutical ( DOVP) were among the best-performing health-related stocks Monday, rising 9% after the company said its non-narcotic painkiller did well in a phase III clinical trial. The company said that bicifadine, which was given to patients following bunionectomy surgery, showed statistically and clinically significant analgesic effects at 400 milligrams administered three times a day when compared to a placebo. Bicifadine was well tolerated and showed no serious side effects. The trial is the first of four phase III trials that are required for submission of a new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration. Shares were trading up $1.40 to $17.38. Isis Pharmaceuticals ( ISIS) rose 1% after the company said it expects to receive nearly $4 million from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals ( ALNY) as a result of Alnylam's alliance with Novartis ( NVS) for the development of RNA interference therapeutics. Isis also has the potential to receive milestone and royalty payments on drugs that utilize the Isis technology licensed to Alnylam. "Leveraging our intellectual property position through licensing agreements, such as the agreement with Alnylan, allows us to realize significant value from our inventions in oligonucleotide chemistry and antisense mechanisms, including RNAi," Isis said. Shares of Isis were recently trading up 6 cents to $5.48. Shares of Genaera ( GENR) fell 11% after the company said it would sell 11.4 million shares of stock at $2.15 apiece in a direct equity placement. The sale price represents an 18% discount to Friday's closing price of $2.62 a share. The offering is expected to close on or about Sept. 13. Shares were trading down 30 cents to $2.32. Geron ( GERN) fell 1% after the company said it would sell 6 million shares of stock. Meanwhile, the company said that Merck ( MRK) would concurrently exercise its warrant to purchase $18 million of Geron stock. The stock sale is being co-managed by SG Cowen, Needham & Co., and Lazard Capital Markets. UBS Investment Bank is acting as sole book running manager. Shares were trading down 12 cents to $11.60.
Shares of Vical ( VICL) rose 15% after the company agreed to grant Merck renewable options for the rights to use its patented gene delivery technology for additional cancer targets. In exchange, Viral has received the non-exclusive, sublicenseable rights to use the technology for vaccines against HIV. Additionally, Merck has a fixed-term option to exclusively sublicense, on terms to be negotiated, Vical's electroporation-enhanced delivery technology for use with HIV vaccines. "Merck's exercise of the option for the additional targets would result in an option exercise payment to Vical, and further development may lead to milestone and royalty payments, along with an opportunity for co-promotion," Vical said. In June, Merck exercised three cancer options that resulted in a $3 million payment to Vical. Shares of Vical were recently trading up 62 cents to $4.84. Other health care volume movers included Pfizer ( PFE), down 1 cent to $26.32; Celgene ( CELG), up $4.35 to $54.99; Amgen ( AMGN), down 50 cents to $84.01; OSI Pharmaceuticals ( OSIP), down $1.39 to $30.91; Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY), down 31 cents to $24.80; Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), down 8 cents to $64.65; and Schering-Plough ( SGP), down 28 cents to $22.