Sanofi-Aventis ( SNY) shares fell Wednesday after the company said it signed an agreement with Japan's Taiho Pharmaceuticals to develop and market an anticancer drug already on the market in Asia. Sanofi agreed to pay up to $360 million in milestone and upfront payments to license the drug, dubbed S-1, which had sales in Japan of 31 billion yen, or about $270 million. According to the agreement, Taiho will manufacture the drug and have the option to participate in promoting it in any country. Sanofi's shares fell 1.5% to $48.49. S-1, which has been on the Japanese market since 1999, is prescribed to treat colorectal, nonsmall-cell lung, breast, stomach, head and neck cancers. It's currently in phase III trials in the U.S., Europe and other countries, Sanofi says. Dendreon ( DNDN) gained 6.1% to $5.03 on word that it saw positive safety and efficacy results from a phase III study of its proposed prostate cancer drug Provenge. Results were published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Clinical Oncology. JMP Securities biotech analyst Charles Duncan upgraded the shares to a strong buy rating Wednesday, saying the new data increased the drug's likelihood of Food and Drug Administration approval. The company says it plans to submit its application to market the drug later this year. Tercica ( TRCA) shares fell 2.9% to $5.12 following a jump early in the day. According to the company, a U.S. District Court in California ruled that Insmed ( INSM) and Celtrix Pharmaceuticals infringed three of its patents related to its drug Increlex, a treatment for a childhood deficiency of a certain type of growth hormone. Insmed shares sank 14.3% to $1.32. Shares of DNA-testing company Orchid Cellmark ( ORCH) fell after the company announced the resignation of CFO Raymond J. Land, effective July 7. The stock was down 2.2% to $2.64. Health care-products distributor Henry Schein ( HSIC) slipped 1.6% to $46.49 after the company announced plans to acquire the privately held animal health distributor Provet.
Other health stocks taking a hit included specialty pharmaceutical company Biovail ( BVF), whose shares dipped 1.7% to $22.98; Somaxon Pharmaceuticals ( SOMX), a developer of neurologic and psychiatric drugs, whose shares were down 9.8% to $14.67; and respiratory disease and oncology-drug developer Accentia Biopharmaceuticals ( ABPI), which was down 2.2% to $4.01. Other losers were SCOLR Pharma ( DDD), down 2.4% to $4.80; Bioprogress ( BPRG), off 1% to $8.29; Antares Pharma ( AIS), lower by 0.9% to $1.14; and King Pharmaceuticals ( KG), down 0.4% to $16.87. Advancing issues included Eli Lilly ( LLY), up 1.5% to $56.53; Novogen ( NVGN), which gained 16.2% to $11; and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories ( RDY), higher by 2.6% to $28.78.