Investors seemed pleased Tuesday with health stocks like Corcept Pharmaceuticals ( CORT), which leapt 36%, on an overall flat-to-positive day for biotechs and pharmaceutical companies.

Corcept climbed $1.18 to $4.58 after saying that the Food and Drug Administration indicated it had opened the investigational new-drug (IND) application for Corlux, as a treatment for Cushing's syndrome.

Corcept said the FDA indicated in the IND that a single study may provide a reasonable basis for the submission of a new-drug application (NDA) for Corlux to treat Cushing's syndrome; this allows the company to initiate the 50-patient open-label study defined by the protocol it submitted. The company said it expects to open the trial for enrollment late in the fourth quarter.

Also winning, ImClone ( IMCL) gained Tuesday after the German drugmaker Merck KGaA, which sells the cancer drug Erbitux in Europe, said that results from a phase III study indicate that the drug prolonged the survival of lung-cancer patients.

ImClone developed Erbitux and markets the drug in the U.S. with partner Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY). ImClone added $6.78, or 17.7%, to $44.63. Bristol-Myers edged up 12 cents, or 0.4%, to $28.12.

Elsewhere, Sepracor ( SEPR) and GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK) announced an agreement for insomnia drug Lunesta. Glaxo obtained rights to market the drug, which is currently being reviewed for approval in the European Union, in all markets worldwide excluding the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Japan under the name Lunivia.

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