Health stocks looked vibrant Wednesday after a plethora of regulatory and clinical updates. First, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Tuesday voted against the setting targets that would have further restricted the use of Amgen's ( AMGN) anemia drug Epogen and Johnson & Johnson's ( JNJ) Procrit in dialysis and predialysis patients, instead opting for a range to guide the use of the drugs in those patients. Amgen shares were up $2.02, or 3.8%, to $55.94 Wednesday. A smaller-cap company, Vision-Sciences ( VSCI), took off Wednesday after announcing that it received 510(k) clearance from the FDA to market a new line of digital, video-based flexible endoscopes, which come with an integrated "built-in" light source so that a separate camera head, light cable and optical coupler aren't needed. The ENT (ear, nose and throat) and TNE (transnasal esophagoscopy) scopes are the first two in a series to be introduced by Vision-Sciences. Shares rose 48 cents, or 26%, to $2.26. And for the second time in two weeks, investors fueled Cardica ( CRDC) shares. The company said Wednesday that it received European CE Mark approval for its C-Port Flex A Anastomosis System, which attaches blood vessels and grafts in less-invasive coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedures. Cardica added $1.28, or 14.9%, to $9.93. In the clinical update arena, biopharmaceutical company Novavax ( NVAX) said that several candidates have emerged from an ongoing discovery program to create a novel vaccine to prevent disease associated with the varicella zoster virus (VZV) in older adults, and that the candidates are now targeted for preclinical development. Shares climbed 31 cents, or 9.2%, to $3.72.
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).