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.
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).