Shares of CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals ( CGPI) were among the best-performing health-related stocks Tuesday, jumping 11% after the company said the Food and Drug Administration approved its oral treatment for rosacea. The company's Oracea pill will be the first FDA-approved oral treatment for the skin condition. "Oracea is the first of a series of dermatology products we have in development, and we are very pleased that our NDA was approved by the FDA within 10 months of submission," the company said. CollaGenex said that the drug will be ready for distribution in July. CollaGenex shares were trading at $13.01, up $1.33. Vical ( VICL) rose 4% after the company announced a collaborative agreement with AnGes, a Japanese biopharmaceutical firm, to develop Vical's Allovectin-7 cancer treatment. As part of the agreement, AnGes will provide up to $100 million in clinical trial funding and make milestone payments that are tied to sales targets. Through cash and equity investments totaling nearly $23 million, AnGes will fund a Phase III trial of Allovectin-7, which will be conducted in the U.S. AnGes will also pay royalties to Vical that are tied to product sales in specified Asian countries. AnGes will have exclusive marketing rights to Allovectin-7 in the specified Asian countries, while Vical will retain marketing rights in the rest of the world. Vical shares were up 27 cents to $6.35. Applera ( ABI) fell 2% after the company's Applied Biosystems unit said it plans to acquire privately held Agencourt Personal Genomics for about $120 million in cash. The transaction, which is expected to close during the third quarter, will cut fiscal 2007 and 2008 earnings, Applied Biosystems said. During fiscal 2009, however, the deal is expected to be accretive. "After conducting a thorough evaluation of more than 40 companies and academic research groups, we have concluded that APG's technology is both tested and commercializable," Applied Biosystems said in a press release. Shares of Applied Biosystems were recently trading down 55 cents to $29.31. Shares of Beckman Coulter ( BEC), which owns a minority interest in Agencourt, were up 9 cents to $55.42.
HealthSpring ( HS) fell 1% after the managed-care company said it plans to buy America's Health Choice Medical Plans, a privately held Florida-based HMO, for $50 million in cash. HealthSpring, which went public in February, expects the transaction to close late in the third quarter or early fourth quarter. "We are extremely pleased to announce the signing of the agreement to acquire AHC and enter the Florida market," HealthSpring said. Shares were down 22 cents to $16.08. Other health care volume movers included Pfizer ( PFE), down 21 cents to $23.79; Elan ( ELN), up 53 cents to $19.07; Merck ( MRK), down 80 cents to $33.76; Boston Scientific ( BSX), down 14 cents to $20.33; UnitedHealth Group ( UNH), up 43 cents to $43.55; Medtronic ( MDT), unchanged at $50.26; Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), down 63 cents to $60.06; Amgen ( AMGN), down $1.34 to $67.47; Schering-Plough ( SGP), down 14 cents to $19.23; Teva Pharmaceutical ( TEVA), down 17 cents to $37.01; and Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY), down 16 cents to $24.79.