A few health stocks, including Biogen Idec ( BIIB), gained ground Thursday on business and clinical updates on a flat-to-positive day for the sector. Biogen climbed after it reaffirmed 2007 guidance and said it expects to grow revenue by 15% a year and earnings per share (before charges and expenses) by 20% a year from 2007 to 2010. The company said it expects the growth to be driven by continued performance of multiple sclerosis treatment Avonex, expansion of cancer treatment rituxan into autoimmune diseases, achieving a milestone of 100,000 patients on Tysabri by the end of 2010, and geographic diversification of its revenue base -- aiming for 40% of revenue to be from international business by 2010. Shares gained $3.66, or 5.83%, to $66.53. Cell Therapeutics ( CTIC) said following a meeting with the Food and Drug Administration it will conduct a full analysis of a late-stage study for its non-Hodgkin's lymphoma candidate pixantrone instead of an interim analysis. The company expects the study to be completed by the end of the year and said a full analysis should be available during the first half of 2008. Cell Therapeutics said that since pixantrone has fast-track status for this indication, it could receive marketing approval in 2009. Shares rose 19 cents or 5.1%, to $3.90. Others rose on mid-to-late stage trial initiation updates. Introgen Therapeutics ( INGN) and Moffitt Cancer Center announced plans to begin a phase II randomized, controlled study of INGN 225, Introgen's investigational immunotherapy product in patients with metastatic small-cell lung cancer.
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).