Merger news launched a couple of health care sector stocks higher Monday, while ASCO data dragged a few players down a bit. Inverness Medical Innovations ( IMA) announced Monday it has agreed to acquire Cholestech ( CTEC) in a stock-for-stock merger. Cholestech shareholders will receive 0.43642 shares of Inverness common for every Cholestech share. The transaction is pending approval by Cholestech's shareholders, and is expected to close in the fall. Cholestech leapt $2.90, or 17.3%, to $19.70, and Inverness was down $1.86, or 3.9%, to $46.31. Molecular diagnostic company Digene ( DIGE) surged $13.20, or 30%, to $57.97 on news that it had
agreed to be acquired by Qiagen ( QGEN). Qiagen was down $1.17, or 6.8%, to $16.11. Losing Monday, Cell Therapeutics ( CTIC) announced after market close on Friday that it registered to sell $150 million of securities. The company said the number and price of the securities will be determined at the time of sale. The company's stock fell 5 cents, or 11%, to $4.17. Data presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists in Chicago, which started on Friday and will continue through Tuesday, pushed a few biotech stocks down. For more news from this meeting, check out TheStreet.com's coverage of ASCO by senior writer Adam Feuerstein.
A quick recap of a few of the stocks that slid: ImClone ( IMCL) was down $2.09, or 5%, to $39.20, after the release of lackluster data on its
cancer drug Erbitux . Feuerstein also said data on Genentech's Avastin lacked pizzazz. Genetech ( DNA) was down $1.06, or 1.3%, to $78.44. The Amex Biotechnology Index, which includes ImClone and Genentech, was down 7.27, or 0.9%, to 819.56. Telik ( TELK) tumbled $1.06, or 18.2%, to $4.75, after announcing that a phase III study on ovarian cancer treatment Telcyta didn't meet primary or secondary endpoints. However, the company said some figures may have been compromised because a significant percentage of the patients were released from the study early. Also down, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals ( REGN) fell $2.49, or 11%, to $20.50, after reporting an 8% response rate to a phase II study of its VEGF-Trap in advanced ovarian cancer patients. On the other hand, Onyx Pharmaceuticals ( ONXX) was up $1.95, or 6.3%, to $32.82. Feuerstein said the survival benefit for its Nexavar drug in liver cancer establishes it as the new standard of care.