Biotech stocks were largely flat Monday, as research-and-development successes and ratings upgrades edged some players higher. Biopharmaceutical company Viragen's ( VRA) shares climbed 2 cents, or 24%, to 9 cents on Monday after reporting that researchers were able to improve a process for creating a human protein used to treat hepatitis C and certain malignant diseases. Another biopharmaceutical company, MGI Pharma ( MOGN), and its Swiss partner Helsinn Healthcare announced they had submitted a supplemental new drug application for anti-post-operative nausea treatment Aloxi Injection to the Food and Drug Administration. Aloxi is already approved by the FDA for the prevention of nausea and vomiting in certain cases of emetogenic cancer chemotherapy. Shares rose 38 cents, or 1.7%, to $22.44. Additionally, BioSante Pharmaceuticals ( BPA) signed an exclusive agreement with Pantarhei Bioscience, a Netherlands-based pharmaceutical company, to develop and market a new birth control pill in the U.S. It will co-fund the early development of the oral contraceptive up to $1 million and will receive royalty payments on U.S. sales. Shares leapt 38 cents, or 5.6%, to $7.13. Ratings drove other stocks higher. Albany Molecular Research ( AMRI) climbed 2.7% after Jeffries & Co. changed their rating for the chemistry services and drug-discovery company to buy from hold. Similarly, Deutsche Bank upgraded hospice-care services company Chemed to buy from hold, sending shares up 28 cents to $11.30.
Stocks soar as the gross domestic product rises at an annualized rate of 3.5% in the third quarter and continuing jobless claims fall. Gregg Greenberg recaps the action in The Real Story video (above).