Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals ( HEPH) rose after it presented positive data from an animal trial on an experimental drug for rheumatoid arthritis. The new synthetic steroid hormone, HE3286, showed a dramatic benefit in rodents with collagen-induced arthritis when compared with a placebo, reducing the severity of the disease. Shares were up 4.1% to $5.56. Pfizer ( PFE) nudged up its earnings forecast, saying it will wring a bit more profit out of its business this year than the drug giant had previously expected. The company raised its earnings prediction to at least $2.05 a share, before items, from the prior estimate of about $2. Pfizer attributed the revised outlook to a "favorable trend in revenues and lower costs" in the fourth quarter. On average, analysts polled by Thomson First Call had forecast $2.02, excluding one-time items. Shares of Pfizer were up 2% to $27.62. Cadence Pharmaceuticals ( CADX) reported a wider loss in the most recent quarter as expenses became more cumbersome. The company lost $7.8 million, or $6.01 a share, in the latest quarter, compared with a loss of $2.4 million, or $2.04 a share, a year ago. Operating expenses in the quarter were $8 million, more than three times last year, primarily because of costs related to an ongoing phase III trial of Omigard. Shares of Cadence, which completed its initial public offering last month, were unchanged at $12.
OccuLogix ( OCCX) fell after saying it's agreed to acquire more than half of OcuSense, a company developing diagnostic tests for eye conditions. Under the agreement, the company will buy 50.1% of OcuSense stock for up to $8 million. Once the deal closes, OccuLogix will pay OcuSense $2 million. The company will make an additional payment of $2 million on Jan. 1, then pay $2 million each for the achievement of two milestones on the condition that they're reached prior to May 1, 2009. The agreement also includes ways for OccuLogix to increase its ownership interest in OcuSense. Shares fell 2.6% to $1.86. Cardinal Health ( CAH) rose on word it will sell its $1.8 billion Pharmaceutical Technologies & Services unit, which packages pharmaceuticals, and use the proceeds for an expanded stock buyback. Shares of Cardinal climbed 5% to $64.90. Nutritional supplement maker Nutraceutical International ( NUTR) edged lower after it reported mixed quarterly results. Sales were $35.7 million in the company's fiscal fourth quarter, down from $36.8 million a year ago. Nutraceutical earned $3.1 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with $3 million, or 26 cents a share, last year. Shares of Nutraceutical were down 0.4% at $15.11.