Health stocks that drew analyst attention were on the move Wednesday, but on the whole, the sector was staying close to the flat line. Oppenheimer analyst Sean Lavin initiated coverage on Cardium Therapeutics ( CXM) with a buy rating and sparked a bit of investor enthusiasm, driving the stock up 34 cents, or 10.2%, to $2.71. He gave the stock a 12-month price target of $5. "We believe Cardium has three potentially revolutionizing products in three distinct areas of medicine," Lavin wrote in a research report. The company has an FDA-approved product for fever control, stroke, heart attacks, cardiac ischemia, neurosurgery and cardiothoracic surgery. Another product is in late-stage clinical trials for patients with heart ischemia, and a third is in midstage testing to treat diabetic and pressure ulcers. Elsewhere, Orexigen Therapeutics ( OREX) climbed $1.02, or 7.1%, to $14.38 after a JMP Securities analyst raised his rating for the stock to strong buy from market outperform on the potential for the company's developmental obesity drugs. On the other hand, Oppenheimer analyst Kevin DeGeeter downgraded Omrix Biopharmaceuticals ( OMRI), partly because he's skeptical about the ability of the company's thrombin product to take significant market share.
Shares were trading down 60 cents, or 1.6%, to $37.35. The stock is a component of the Nasdaq Biotechnology index, which was up 0.1%. ImClone ( IMCL) and Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY) both rose on word that the FDA approved a label extension for Erbitux as a single agent for colon cancer. ImClone added $1.68, or 4%, to $43.70, and Bristol-Myers gained 64 cents, or 2.2%, to $29.47. Another winner, Dusa Pharmaceuticals ( DUSA) bounded 80 cents, or 38%, to $2.97 after regulators in Korea approved Levulan Kerastick to treat actinic keratoses. The company expects the product to go on sale in the first quarter of 2008. Finally, Inverness Medical Innovations ( IMA) said it acquired Bio-Stat Healthcare for about $34 million. In addition, Inverness will pay an earn-out up to approximately $14.6 million based on Bio-Stat's 2007 results. After being down earlier in the day, shares of Inverness perked up and rose 11 cents, or 0.2%, to $54.40.