Shares of BioMarin Pharmaceutical ( BMRN) were among the best-performing health-related stocks Thursday, jumping 15% after the company said its treatment for phenylketonuria, an enzyme deficiency, performed well in a phase III trial. BioMarin and its partner, Serono ( SRA), said Phenoptin met its primary and secondary endpoints, demonstrating a statistically significant reduction at six weeks in blood phenylalanine levels when compared to a placebo. BioMarin and Serono plan to file marketing applications for Phenoptin for PKU in the U.S. and European Union in 2007. Separately, BioMarin agreed to license its Orapred product line to privately held Alliant Pharmaceuticals. The license gives Alliant the exclusive right to market the pediatric asthma drug in North America. BioMarin will receive payments and royalties that are tied to the product's approval, launch and sales. BioMarin, which will retain the commercial rights to Orapred outside of North America, expects to launch Orapred ODT during the second half of 2006. Shares were trading up $1.84 to $14.29. Shares of Nanogen ( NGEN) climbed 16% after Fisher Scientific ( FSH) agreed to buy about 5.7 million shares for $2.65 each. The $15 million investment coincides with Fisher's $283 million acquisition of Athena Diagnostics, which was announced Thursday. "Nanogen and Fisher will collaborate to expand the use of Athena's proprietary markets and diagnostic assays," Nanogen said in a statement. Nanogen plans to use proceeds from the stock sale for working capital and other general corporate needs. Shares of were up 41 cents to $2.93, while Fisher shares shed 36 cents to $69.52. StemCells ( STEM) shares were roughly flat after the stem cell-focused biotechnology company posted a smaller year-over-year loss. The company reported a loss of $4.3 million, or 7 cents a share, narrowed from $4.9 million, or 8 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $43,000 from $38,000. For all of 2005, the company reported a loss of $11.7 million, or 18 cents a share, on revenue of $206,000. The company ended 2005 with $34.5 million in cash and cash equivalents, down from $41.1 million at the end of 2004. Shares were unchanged at $3.69.
Shares of Medicis Pharmaceutical ( MRX) fell modestly after the drugmaker posted adjusted earnings and sales that were lower than a year ago. The company earned $37.3 million, or 56 cents a share, on revenue of $80.7 million during the most recent quarter. Excluding items, the company earned $20.1 million, or 29 cents a share, for the December quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 27 cents a share on revenue of $84.6 million. During the year-earlier period, the company earned $20.2 million, or 31 cents a share, on revenue of $92.3 million. Excluding items, the company earned $25.4 million, or 36 cents a share, a year earlier. Looking ahead, Medicis sees calendar 2006 earnings of $1.10 a share on revenue of $344 million. Shares were trading down 4 cents to $31.72. Titan Pharmaceuticals ( TTP) slumped 15% after the biopharmaceutical company said it plans to sell almost 3.1 million shares of stock at $3.25 apiece, a 25% discount to Wednesday's closing price of $4.33. The company expects to raise about $10 million in the offering. Rodman & Renshaw acted as the placement agent for the transaction, which is expected to close on March 20. Titan shares traded down 66 cents to $3.67. Other health care volume movers included Generex Biotech ( GNBT), up 21 cents to $2.60; Pfizer ( PFE), up 4 cents to $25.99; Novavax ( NVAX), up 26 cents to $7.26; Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), up 29 cents to $60.09; Elan ( ELN), up 6 cents to $15.01; Boston Scientific ( BSX), down 9 cents to $22.69; Amgen ( AMGN), down $1.05 to $73.84; Schering-Plough ( SGP), up 17 cents to $18.58; Merck ( MRK), up 10 cents to $35.26; and Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY), down 1 cent to $22.76.