Random news and a big jury decision refreshed health stocks Tuesday, a mild bump for indices that slumped at the week's start. First, the exception: Delcath Systems' ( DCTH) shares plunged after the Food and Drug Administration recommended the company suspend mid- and late-stage trials and submit an analysis of adverse events in advance of a meeting with the agency regarding gastrointestinal safety concerns. The company previously reported four serious adverse events, two of which resulted in deaths, to the FDA and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Institutional Review Board (IRB) as well as to the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) for the phase III trial. The company said it has amended the protocols to prevent future adverse events and those changes were approved by the NCI IRB and implemented into the trials. Shares dove $1.25, or 47.9%, to $1.39. Other health stocks, however, saw green after various decisions by juries, boards and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Amgen won out in the patent infringement trial with Roche. A Boston jury ruled in Amgen's favor, determining that Roche's Mircera infringes on 11 of Amgen's patent claims. Amgen said it will seek an injunction to prevent Roche from commercializing Mircera in the U.S. That hearing is scheduled for Nov. 15. Amgen got a modest rise of $1.36, or 2.4%, to $57.48.
Also rising, Bentley Pharmaceuticals ( BNT) announced that its board of directors unanimously approved a plan to spin off its drug-delivery business into a separate company and explore strategic alternatives for its generic-pharmaceuticals business. Shares rose $1.11, or 8.8%, to $13.74. Then, Genomic Health ( GHDX) reported that its Oncotype D.X. breast cancer assay, used to predict the likelihood of disease recurrence and likelihood of chemotherapy benefit for node-negative, estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer patients, has been included in updated guidelines on the use of breast cancer tumor markers by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The guidelines were published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and will appear in the journal's Nov. 20 print edition. Shares gained $3.39, or 16.5%, to $24. Elsewhere, earnings and clinical data gave other health stocks a kick. ZymoGenetics ( ZGEN) announced positive interim data from a phase I trial that combined its IL-21 and kidney cancer drug Nexavar, owned by Bayer ( BAY) and Onyx Pharmaceuticals ( ONXX). ZymoGenetics said the combined therapy was well-tolerated, with a toxicity profile similar to known toxicities of each agent alone, and that it has also shown promising anti-tumor activity. Shares added 40 cents, or 3.2%, to $13. The stock is a component of the Nasdaq biotechnology index, which was up 13.72, or 1.6%, to 886.316 Tuesday. Medical-device company Arthrocare ( ARTC) gained $5.29, or 9.3%, to $61.97 after announcing a 28% year-over-year rise in third-quarter profit and a 21% rise in revenue post-close Monday. It also increased its full-year guidance for 2007. Banc of America Securities analyst Steven Lichtman raised his price target for Arthrocare to $65 from $52.