Avalon Pharmaceuticals ( AVRX) jumped 12.3% after the company said late Tuesday it has a deal with Merck ( MRK) to develop cancer drugs. Avalon was recently higher by 57 cents at $5.20.

PDL BioPharma ( PDLI) was rising after First Albany upgraded the biotech company to neutral from underperform. PDL was recently adding 60 cents, or 3.3%, at $19.04.

On the other hand, CV Therapeutics ( CVTX) slumped more than 25% after the company's angina drug Ranexa was found to be ineffective in a study when used to treat acute coronary syndrome. Shares were recently losing $3.12 to $9.18.

Progenics Pharmaceuticals ( PGNX) dropped after saying late Tuesday it will partner with Wyeth ( WYE) to reformulate its methylnaltrexone drug for a proposed treatment for side effects of opioid analgesics. However, the companies do not expect to file a new drug application with the Food and Drug Administration until the end of 2009. Progenics was down $3.33, or 12.4%, to $23.43.

Among other health care winners, Tercica ( TRCA) was surging 23% to $6. Elan ( ELN) was higher by 2.2% at $13.03. Pfizer ( PFE) was gaining 1% to $25.43.

Among decliners, Affymetrix ( AFFX) was losing 2.6% at $25.98. Biogen Idec ( BIIB) was lower by 1.3% to $43.60. MedImmune ( MEDI) slipped 1% to $30.94.

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