Investor enthusiasm and reaction to the Fed's interest rate decision carried over to health stocks Tuesday, refreshing numerous names -- some with and some without news. One of the bigger gainers, Sangamo BioSciences ( SGMO), presented animal-study data that showed human CD4 T-cells can be made permanently resistant to HIV infection by treatment with zinc finger DNA-binding protein nucleases and preferentially survive and expand in mice after HIV infection. Shares added $1.40, or 11.7%, to $13.40. Nektar Therapeutics ( NKTR) gained 57 cents, or 6.8%, to $8.93 after it said Tuesday that it created two new research units to drive its research initiatives under Nektar's PEGylation (use of a polymer to improve a drug's stability and ability to remain available in the body) and Pulmonary Business, which includes its inhaled antibiotic programs. The company said this will align its research activities with its strategic business objectives and allow for better decision-making and portfolio prioritization. Nektar named Tim Riley vice president of its PEGylation research unit and John "Jay" Sisco as vice president of its pulmonary research unit. The company is a component of the Nasdaq biotechnology index, which was up 18.74, or 2.24%, to 843.51. Elsewhere, Goldman Sachs upgraded Shire ( SHPGY) to buy from neutral, adding it to its "conviction buy" list. Shares slid last week following discussion that the company was having difficulty switching patients who were using Adderall XR (the Adderall patent is set to expire in early 2009) to its Vyvanse, which is protected until 2023. Goldman said the issues shouldn't be surprising given the limited period Vyvanse has been available in the U.S. and the fact that the school term began just recently. Shire added $2.44, or 3.5%, to $71.28.
Millennium Pharmaceuticals ( MLNM) rose after announcing that it stopped a phase III study on newly diagnosed multiple myeloma drug Velcade early on the recommendation of an independent data-monitoring committee, allowing patients in the control arm to receive Velcade. Shares climbed 84 cents, or 8.6%, to $10.61. Biopharmaceutical company LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals announced a partnership with Biogen Idec ( BIIB) to develop therapies targeting CD103 for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases including potential respiratory, gastrointestinal and autoimmune indications. LigoCyte will receive milestone payments on the successful development of drug candidates, and it has the opportunity for co-development, co-promotion and sharing of profits resulting from commercialized products. Biogen shares were trading up $2.07, or 3.2%, to $66.57. One stock trading down was Micrus Endovascular ( MEND), which slid $6.24, or 26.5%, to $17.33 Tuesday. On Monday after close, the company lowered its fiscal 2008 revenue guidance because of expected delays for regulatory approvals in China and possible delays in Japanese approvals. The company now anticipates recording between $65 million to $75 million, down from a previously expected range of between $80 million and $85 million. CIBC World Markets downgraded the stock to sector perform from sector outperform Tuesday.