Regulatory reviews rocked health stocks, such as Wyeth ( WYE), in both directions, while earnings gave others a nudge on Tuesday. The Food and Drug Administration
asked for more information on Wyeth's prospective menopause-symptoms treatment Pristiq -- specifically, the drug's potential risks of liver and cardiovascular side effects, according to the company. It pushed the stock down $4.36, or 7.8%, to $51.64. On the other hand, the FDA granted Neurochem's ( NRMX) investigational Alzheimer's treatment candidate tramiprosate Fast Track status, which expedites the review of drugs that treat serious or life-threatening conditions and that address an unmet medical need for a condition. Neurochem is meeting with the FDA in August to discuss tramiprosate's phase III program. The company's stock climbed 34 cents, or 5.8%, to $6.22. Also, the FDA's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee voted to recommend approval for Eli Lilly's ( LLY) osteoporosis drug evista for a new use to reduce invasive breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and postmenopausal women at a high risk for breast cancer. The recommendation, however, is nonbinding. The company reported better-than-expected earnings on Tuesday, and upped its guidance for the year. Eli Lilly rose $1.46, or 2.5%, to $58.58. It's a component of the Amex Biopharmaceutical index, which was down 3.76, or 1.1%, to 350.10. Orexigen Therapeutics ( OREX) said Tuesday that a phase IIb trial for obesity drug candidate Empatic met its primary endpoint. The company said the trial demonstrated statistically significant weight loss against the placebo and was safe and well tolerated. Shares of Orexigen initially climbed but were recently down 0.5% at $14.15.
In earnings news, Lyndhurst, N.J.-based Quest Diagnostics ( DGX) gained $3.10, or 5.9%, to $55.90 after announcing second-quarter results. The company earned $141 million, or 73 cents a share, compared to $132 million, or 66 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting 68 cents a share for the quarter. Also up was Biogen Idec ( BIIB), which reported
strong quarterly earnings and increased its year-end outlook Tuesday. The stock gained $2.09, or 3.7%, to $56.80. Less fortunate was Edwards Lifesciences ( EW), which reported earning $34.9 million, or 57 cents a share, compared to $36.1 million, or 58 cents a share, in the same period in 2006. Per-share earnings were in line with the Thomson Financial consensus target. But after lower-than-expected heart valve sales in the second quarter, Edwards said it expects to earn between 41 cents and 43 cents a share in the third quarter, and between $2.08 and $2.12 a share for the year. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected 54 cents in the third quarter and $2.27 a share for the year. Shares gave up $2.14, or 4.2%, to $47.76.