Health care stocks were on the rise Wednesday, aided by rises in Ventana Medical Systems ( VMSI) and Pfizer ( PFE). On Tuesday, a U.S. District Court in Arizona granted Swiss drug maker Roche a preliminary injunction, preventing Ventana from using anti-takeover provisions to hold off a $3 billion hostile takeover bid. Roche said on Tuesday that it was extending its $75-a-share offer, originally set to expire on Aug. 23, until Sept. 20. Ventana's shares edged up $1.07, or 1.3%, to $83.45. Pfizer introduced Frank D'Amelio as its new CFO. D'Amelio was most recently a senior executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Alcatel-Lucent. The appointment will be effective mid-September. The company rose 39 cents, or 1.6%, to $24.63. A much smaller company, Critical Therapeutics ( CRTX) also named a new CFO. The biopharmaceutical company said it appointed Tucker Kelly to chief financial officer and senior vice president of finance and corporate development. Kelly's resume includes experience as a life sciences investment banker, a principal with Canaccord Adams, a vice president with Robertson Stephens, and as a corporate and securities attorney. Critical Therapeutics also filed with regulators on Tuesday to periodically sell up to $40 million in common and preferred stock, debt securities and warrants. The proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes. The company gave up 18 cents, or 7.9%, to $2.09. Another biopharmaceutical company, Medicure ( MCU), was moving in the other direction Wednesday. Medicure said it now anticipates completion of enrollment of its phase IIII Med-Carg II trial in September, two months earlier than planned. The company said it received another recommendation to continue the trial from the independent Data Safety Monitoring Board. Medicure said on Tuesday that it entered into two agreements that will result in proceeds of about $40 million. The company will issue about 13.04 million shares at $1.15 apiece, with warrants to purchase about 3.69 million additional common shares within the next five years for $1.50 each. It also entered into an agreement with Manchester Securities to securitize revenue from Aggrastat, a treatment for acute coronary syndrome, and possibly revenue from its MC-1 compound for acute cardiovascular events, upon its commercialization. Medicure's shares were up 2 cents, or 1.7%, to $1.20. Nuvelo ( NUVO) was gaining 16.3% after Brean Murray upgraded the stock to hold, from sell. also rose after reporting news on a drug trial. The company said earlier this week that it re-initiated its Sonoma-3 study on Alfimeprase in patients with catheter occlusion. A previous phase III trial didn't meet effectiveness standards for a single pivotal trial. The new trial is studying a single, higher and more concentrated dose. Shares rose 21 cents, or 12.9%, to $1.84. Nuvelo is a component of the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which was up 4.41, or 0.55%, to 803.95.
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).