Shares of Pain Therapeutics ( PTIE) were among the best-performing health-related stocks Thursday, surging 37% after the biopharmaceutical company formed an alliance with King Pharmaceuticals to develop Remoxy, an abuse-resistant version of oxycodone. As part of the deal, King will give Pain Therapeutics an upfront cash payment of $150 million. Pain Therapeutics also will be eligible for up to $150 million in milestone payments contingent upon the successful development of Remoxy and other abuse-resistant painkillers. King, meanwhile, is responsible for all of the research and development expenses related to the alliance, which could reach as high as $100 million. "Today's announcement underscores King's commitment to form strategic alliances with companies at the forefront of drug development," King said in a statement. "We are confident our alliance with Pain Therapeutics adds considerable strength to King's pipeline and positions both companies for solid long-term growth." Shares of Pain Therapeutics were trading up $2.37 to $8.71 while shares of King were down $1.05 to $15.95. Eyetech Pharmaceuticals dropped 9% after OSI Pharmaceuticals appeared to waver on its plans to buy the company. Eyetech holders approved the acquisition Thursday, but the company said OSI wants more time to assess the deal in the wake of data presented on a competing drug for Eyetech's main product, Macugen. OSI said it hasn't made a decision not to make the acquisition, but it wants more time to assess the implications of the data for the competing drug, Genentech's Lucentis. Eyetech said OSI has no basis to back out of the deal, and it plans to insist on strict compliance of the merger agreement. The deal had been set to close Monday. Eyetech shares recently were down $1.62 to $16.41. OSI shares rose 72 cents, or 3%, to $26.93. Caremark rose 6% after the company increased its stock repurchase plan by $500 million, bringing the total buyback plan to $1.75 billion. "Once again, as a result of the company's significant cash flow generation, our board has raised the authorization for stock repurchases," the company said. "The Caremark management team and the board will continue to assess all of the strategies available for capital deployment to support growth and generate shareholder value." As of Nov. 9, the pharmacy benefit manager had repurchased 28.3 million shares -- at a cost of about $937 million -- under its buyback plan. Shares were trading up $2.71 to $51.50.
Shares of Hospira ( HSP) rose 9% after the hospital equipment maker posted third-quarter results that beat expectations. The company earned $59.9 million, or 37 cents a share, on sales of $656.6 million. Excluding items, the company earned $78 million, or 48 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 40 cents a share and sales of $636.1 million. A year earlier, Hospira earned $61.3 million, or 39 cents a share, on sales of $656.1 million. Excluding items, the company's year-earlier earnings were $68.5 million, or 44 cents a share. Hospira raised its 2005 adjusted earnings forecast to $1.90 to $1.95 a share from an earlier view of $1.77 to $1.82 a share. The company continues to expect sales of about $2.6 billion. Analysts predict earnings of $1.88 a share and sales of $2.62 billion. Shares were trading up $3.62 to $44.62. KV Pharmaceutical rose 7% after the specialty pharmaceutical company posted second-quarter results that topped forecasts. The company earned $11.5 million, or 21 cents a share, on sales of $96.3 million. Analysts expected earnings of 16 cents a share and sales of $85.9 million. A year earlier, the company earned $12.7 million, or 23 cents a share, on sales of $79.3 million. KV said the year-over-year earnings decline reflects planned investments in sales, marketing and promotional activities associated with its branded business. Shares were trading up $1.21 to $19.30. Shares of Biolase Technology slumped 15% after the medical technology company posted a wider third-quarter loss. The company's loss swelled to $5.2 million, or 23 cents a share, from $1.1 million, or 5 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales fell to $11.7 million from $12.3 million. Analysts expected a narrower loss of 4 cents a share and sales of about $15 million. Gross margin in the most recent period came in at 46%, down significantly from year-ago levels of 58%. "Gross margin was primarily impacted by higher production costs, costs of component design changes associated with quality improvements, and the costs of customer training," Biolase said. Shares were trading down 97 cents to $5.48. Other health care volume movers included Pfizer ( PFE), up 1 cent to $22.17; Novavax ( NVAX), down 33 cents to $3.15; Merck ( MRK), up 41 cents to $30; Amgen ( AMGN), up $1.46 to $81.68; Schering-Plough , down 6 cents to $19.60; Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), up 39 cents to $61.41; and UnitedHealth Group ( UNH), up $1.54 to $58.90.