Shares of SciClone Pharmaceuticals ( SCLN) were among the best-performing health-related stocks Monday, jumping 10% after the biopharmaceutical company's Zadaxin received orphan-drug status. Zadaxin received the designation for treatment of stage IIb through IV malignant melanoma. The orphan-drug status designation, granted for drugs treating rare diseases, allows SciClone to receive prefiling regulatory guidance, reduced fees and market exclusivity for seven years if the Food and Drug Administration approves the compound. "We are extremely excited to receive this designation, which we believe emphasizes the pressing need for new therapeutic options that may improve the currently bleak prospects for patients with advanced stages of malignant melanoma," the company said. Shares were trading up 31 cents to $3.35. CombinatoRx ( CRXX) rose 6% after the biopharmaceutical company posted a smaller fourth-quarter loss. The company reported a loss of $7 million, narrowed from $7.6 million a year earlier. On a per-share basis, the loss shrank to 13 cents from $10.60, as the company's share count jumped to 13.7 million from 886,000 a year earlier. Fourth-quarter revenue rose to $3 million from $178,000. CombinatoRx continues to see a 2006 loss of $31 million to $36 million. The company expects to use between $32 million and $37 million in cash during 2006. Shares were trading up 64 cents to $11.48. Shares of Boston Life Sciences ( BLSI) climbed 29% after the biotech company ended its phase III study of Altropane early because the trial may have already enrolled enough patients to achieve statistical significance. The study was being conducted to evaluate the efficacy of the company's Altropane imaging agent in the differentiation of Parkinsonian syndrome tremors and non-Parkinsonian or essential tremors. The company expects that it will complete the data analysis and release its findings from the study during the third quarter. Shares were trading up 68 cents to $2.95.
Shares of BioMarin Pharmaceutical ( BMRN) fell 5% after the company said it plans to sell a combination of stock and debt. The company plans to sell some 9 million shares of stock and up to $125 million in senior subordinated convertible notes due 2013. The company granted underwriters an option to buy up to an additional 1.35 million shares and up to an additional $18.75 million in convertible notes to cover over-allotments. The company plans to use proceeds from the offerings for the commercialization of its products, clinical trials, and for working capital and other general needs. Shares were trading down 65 cents to $13.78. Health Management Associates ( HMA) fell 1% after the hospital operator lowered its 2006 financial guidance. The company now sees earnings of $1.43 to $1.49 a share on revenue of $4 billion to $4.1 billion. Previously, the company predicted earnings of $1.56 to $1.60 a share on revenue of $4 billion to $4.2 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call project earnings of $1.49 a share and revenue of $4.04 billion. HMA now sees same-hospital admissions growing by 1.5% to 2.5%, down from an earlier view of 2% to 4%. Same-hospital revenue, meanwhile, is now seen at 4% to 7%, down from an earlier view of 5% to 8%. Shares were trading down 25 cents to $20.96. Other health care volume movers included ViroPharma ( VPHM), down 47 cents to $10.39; Pfizer ( PFE), up 3 cents to $26.42; Boston Scientific ( BSX), up 84 cents to $23.46; Schering-Plough ( SGP), up 82 cents to $19.30; Generex Biotech ( GNBT), up 34 cents to $3.28; Novavax ( NVAX), up 47 cents to $7.83; Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), up 14 cents to $60.48; Elan ( ELN), down 18 cents to $14.83; Amgen ( AMGN), down 38 cents to $72.87; Merck ( MRK), down 2 cents to $35.62; and Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY), up 11 cents to $23.03.