Health indices took to a more positive track Tuesday -- with regulatory and clinical news as well as licensing agreements serving as catalysts for several stocks. Epix Pharmaceuticals ( EPIX) announced results from a midstage, two-week clinical trial of its candidate for Alzheimer's disease. The company said the drug was safe and well-tolerated and that patients who took the 150-mg dose showed statistically significant improvement in cognitive function and memory compared to placebo. Shares added 96 cents, or 32.3%, to $3.93. The stock is a component of the Nasdaq biotechnology index, which was up 7.32, or 0.9%, at 836.20. Another winner, small-cap Escalon Medical ( ESMC) said Tuesday that its Drew Scientific subsidiary received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market the D3 Hematology System, for automatic three-part differential blood analysis. Drew Scientific plans to begin shipments of the product in the U.S. before the end of the year. Shares rose 81 cents, or 24.7%, to $4.09. Eli Lilly ( LLY) announced that CEO Sidney Taurel will retire effective March 31, to be replaced by John Lechleiter, current president and chief operating officer. The company separately announced a licensing agreement with BioMS Medical, paying the company $87 million upfront, milestone payments of up to $410 million and royalties on sales. Lilly predicts a charge of 5 cents a share to earnings for acquired, in-process research and development.
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).