Shares of heart-drug developer Valentis ( VLTS) sank $2.54, or 77%, to 78 cents after the company halted a trial on its experimental treatment for peripheral arterial disease. Researchers were hoping to show that the drug could improve a patient's tolerance for exercise, but after 90 days, there was no significant difference between those on the drug and those given a placebo. PAD is a condition in which fatty deposits build up in the inner linings of the artery walls, creating blockages that restrict blood circulation. The disease can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. ImmunoGen ( IMGN) said it's licensing some of its technology to German pharmaceuticals and diagnostics company Biotest AG to develop new cancer drugs. Biotest is acquiring the exclusive rights to use ImmunoGen's tumor-activated Prodrug technology for an upfront payment of $1 million, plus $35.5 million in potential milestones and royalties. ImmunoGen may also have the option to take part in the U.S. development and marketing of any treatment that's created. Shares of ImmunoGen were adding 2 cents to $3.07. Advanced Medical Optics ( EYE) rose 4.8% to $52.68 following word the company said it will receive a lump sum of $121 million as a settlement for patent disputes with eye care company Alcon ( ACL). As a part of the settlement, both companies will receive licenses that will allow them to market their products without the risk of further litigation. Alcon was up 1.7% to $99.77. Specialty pharmaceutical company Connetics ( CNCT) saw its shares gain 5.4% to $8.18 after being upgraded by analysts at RBC Capital Markets and getting new coverage by BMO Capital Markets. Still, the move pales in comparison to Monday's selloff, when Connetics lost nearly 35% of its value after saying revenue and earnings for the second quarter and the full year would be materially below its past guidance.
Merck ( MRK) was up 1% to $37.20 after the Food and Drug Administration approved its nausea drug Emend for use after surgery. The drug has already been approved to treat nausea and vomiting following chemotherapy, in combination with other nausea drugs. Other sector stocks on the move included health care services company UnitedHealth Group ( UNH), whose shares were up 3.6% to $48.52; Idenix Pharmaceuticals ( IDIX) up 7.3% to $9.86; and NationsHealth ( NHRX), higher by 8.9% to $2.94. Drug giant Pfizer ( PFE) fell 2.6% to $23.26.