Between team-ups and tie-ups, earnings predictions and clinical updates, health indices came up flat Wednesday. GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK) and Synta Pharmaceuticals ( SNTA) said Wednesday they will collaborate on late-stage development for a skin cancer drug. Under the
collaboration , Synta will receive an upfront $80 million payment and will be eligible for a maximum of $885 million in milestones. Glaxo has the option to buy up to $45 million of Synta's common stock if certain development and regulatory milestones are met. Synta fell 73 cents, or 7%, to $9.52, and GSK edged down 16 cents, or 0.3%, to $52.45. On the merger front, Natus Medical ( BABY) said that it will acquire Canadian company Exel-Tech for about $63.6 million. Exel-Tech develops and markets electro-diagnostic systems and disposable supplies for neurologic and sleep disorders. The buyout, which Natus will fund with cash on hand and $35 million of debt, is expected to close during the first week of December. Natus shares rose 58 cents, or 3.4%, to $17.53. Bioenvision ( BIVN) and Genzyme ( GENZ) said Tuesday after close that they filed a petition with a Delaware court to reconvene a special meeting of shareholders later in October to vote on the proposed $345 million merger. Genzyme shares were trading up 54 cents, or 0.8%, to $69.84, while Bioenvision was up 8 cents, or 1.5%, at $5.54.
Oscient Pharmaceuticals ( OSCI) slid Wednesday after predicting third-quarter earnings below analysts' expectations. It now expects revenue of about $15.5 million. Two analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected $18.3 million and $19.8 million. Oscient shares fell 31 cents, or 9.5%, to $2.95, weighing on the buoyant Nasdaq biotechnology index, which crept up 5.23, or 0.6%, to 892.39. In a clinical update, Emergent BioSolutions ( EBS) escalated after reporting positive preliminary results from a phase II clinical study looking for safety and immunogenicity information on its drinkable typhoid vaccine candidate. The study was conducted in Vietnam and involved 151 children between 5 and 14 years old. The company said the vaccine met the predefined criteria of an overall immune response rate greater than 50% with 95% confidence, induced significantly higher antibody concentrations indicating systemic responses than the placebo control group, and was well-tolerated. The stock added 56 cents, or 6%, to $9.86.