A number of health stocks were riding positive clinical updates to gains Thursday, but one of the biggest winners was surging thanks to a robust earnings report. That company, blood-testing equipment maker Immucor ( BLUD), said after Wednesday's close that its quarterly profits rose 39% from a year ago and surpassed analysts' expectations. Recently, the stock was adding $3.53, or 10%, to $38.79. Of those with clinical updates, Lipid Sciences ( LIPD) said studies showed the company's HDL mimectic peptide, LSI 518P, does indeed mimic the functions of HDL, or "good cholesterol". The company also said the product was highly effective in removing cholesterol from cells and reducing inflammation in vessel walls associated with atherosclerosis. Elsewhere, Isis Pharmaceuticals ( ISIS) reported that in a phase II study, its ISIS 301012 safely lowered bad cholesterol for people already on the maximum doses of other lipid-lowering drugs. Shares climbed nearly 5% in premarket trading, but settled back 14 cents, or 0.9%, at $15.61 by the afernoon. Inspire Pharmaceuticals ( ISPH) tacked on 2% to $5.58 after saying it has initiated the first late-stage clinical trial on an inhaled treatment for cystic fibrosis, and now expects top-line efficacy data from the two-trial phase III program by the middle of next year, earlier than previously projected. Isis and Inspire are both components of the Nasdaq Biotechnology index, which was up 0.5% to 872.80.
LifeCell ( LIFC) added $2.87, or 7.4%, to $42.02 after Piper Jaffray upgraded the company to outperform from market perform. Analyst Mark Mullikin said in a report that based on a survey of a group of hernia surgeons, LifeCell's AlloDerm is more popular than the competition because of positive clinical data and a lower rate of infection. On the downswing, Endo Pharmaceuticals ( ENDP) and Penwest Pharmaceuticals ( PPCO) said Impax Laboratories is planning to seek approval for a generic version of Opana ER, an oral extended-release pain reliever. Endo Pharmaceuticals holds the license to Opana ER, which uses Penwest Pharmaceuticals' technology. Endo and Penwest said they "intend to pursue all available legal and regulatory avenues in defense of Opana ER." Endo fell $1.82, or 6%, to $28.65, and Penwest gave up $1.72, or 15.2%, to $9.60. A Jeffries and Co. analyst downgraded Endo to hold from buy.