Lackluster earnings bogged down a number of health stocks midweek, while others found solace in regulatory approvals and clinical data. GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK - Get Report) reported a disappointing quarter, facing tough generic competition in the U.S. and a decrease in sales of its diabetes drug Avandia. For the three months ended Sept. 30, GlaxoSmithKline said net profit fell 6% year over year to $2.68 billion, while revenue fell 2% to $11.02 billion. In light of results, GlaxoSmithKline also announced a $3.1 billion program to cut costs, beef up research and development and streamline manufacturing. The company estimates this will result in annual pretax cost savings of up to $1.4 billion by 2010. It expects 40% of the $1.4 billion savings to come from manufacturing, 40% in sales and administration, and 20% in research and development -- though it didn't give a job-cut figure. Shares fell 89 cents, or 1.7%, to $51.19. The stock is a component of the Amex pharmaceutical index, which edged down 3.35, or 1%, to 343.45. Also on the decline was Illumina ( ILMN - Get Report), which said non-GAAP third-quarter earnings fell 12.8% to 34 cents a share. It beat Street estimates but fell in after-hours trading and then gave up $4.19, or 6.7%, to $58.19 in recent trading Wednesday. Looking ahead, the company raised fourth-quarter guidance to non-GAAP net income of $19 million to $21 million, or 32 cents a share to 35 cents a share.
Then Applera's ( ABI) Celera Group reported net income of $700,000, or one cent a share, for the first quarter of 2008, compared with a net loss of $7.1 million, or 9 cents a share, in the year-ago period that included a pretax charge of $3.5 million. Revenue increased by 58% to $16.1 million from $10.2 million. Celera predicts revenue between $135 million and $145 million for its fiscal 2008. Separately, Celera said after Tuesday's close that it has completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Atria Genetics for roughly $33 million in cash. It anticipates the acquisition will be accretive by the second half of its fiscal 2008. Celera shares fell 55 cents, or 3.5%, to $15. Applera was up a slight 0.3% at $35.34. One winner, Genzyme beat estimates. Excluding items, the company reported earning $241.3 million, or 90 cents a share, compared to $195.9 million, or 73 cents a share, in the comparable 2006 period. Revenue climbed 19% to $960.2 million from $808.6 million in the year-ago period. The Thomson Financial consensus target was 87 cents a share on revenue of $954 million. Genzyme shares rose $2.24, or 3.1%, to $75.75. Meanwhile, away from earnings, Oncolytics Biotech ( ONCY) said Wednesday that it received a letter of approval from the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to begin a clinical trial using IV-administered Reolysin with cyclophosphamide (a chemtherapeutic agent and immune modulator) in patients with advanced cancers. Shares gained 19 cents, or 8.2%, to $2.52. Also up, Cephalon announced Tuesday after close that a phase III trial of Treanda in patients with indolent non-Hodkin's lymphoma (NHL) met its primary endpoints of overall response rate and median duration of response. The company said that Treanda also had a manageable tolerability profile in the study, which was conducted on patients whose cancer was no longer responsive to treatment with rituximab. Cephalon's shares rose $2.97, or 4.2%, to $74.05.