Health indices were largely flat on Wednesday after a few stocks budged on a wide range of business and regulatory news.First, on the regulatory end, Abiomed ( ABMD) said Wednesday that the Food and Drug Administration approved its iPulse Circulatory Support System, which supports devices designed to treat patients that suffer from acute heart failure. The company said it's the first approved device to support ventricular assist devices and intra-aortic balloons in the catheterization lab and surgery suite. Shares edged up just 30 cents, or 2%, to $15.01. On the falling end, Neurocrine ( NBIX), which recently tanked after the FDA didn't approve its sleep drug indiplon and later announced that it would cut staff by 130 people, was still on the decline Wednesday. The company said Tuesday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Committee that it expects an expense of about $7 million related to the staff cut. Shares were down another 30 cents, or 6.4%, to $4.39. Prior to Wednesday, the company's 52-week range was $4.43 to $14.88. The stock is a component of the Nasdaq biotechnology index, which was down 1.73, or 0.21%, at 833.15 on Wednesday. Another update-- GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK) completed its $1.65 billion buyout Reliant Pharmaceuticals on Wednesday. Thus Glaxo officially gains Reliant's lead product, triglyceride-controlling agent Lovaza, in addition to three other cardiovascular drugs. Glaxo edged up just 6 cents, or 0.1%, at $50.95.
Subsequently, Alkermes ( ALKS) received $166.3 million for selling its share of cardiovascular drug maker Reliant, and expects another $7.7 million under an escrow arrangement that will remain in effect for 15 months. Alkermes was trading up 15 cents, or 1%, at 14.37. Then Icon ( ICLR), which provides outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries, rose Wednesday after giving update 2008 guidance. The company expects earnings in a range of $2.27 to $2.36 a diluted share, on revenue in a range of $750 to $770 million in 2008. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for $2.31 a share on revenue of $764.94 million. Icon shares added $5.45, or 9.93%, to $60.23. Elsewhere, Piper Jaffray and Morgan Stanley both upgraded American Medical Systems Holdings ( AMMD) Wednesday, eyeing potential sales growth for the company's GreenLight laser and the current value in the stock. Piper Jaffray analyst Thomas Gunderson raised his rating to buy from neutral and Morgan Stanley analyst David Lewis upped his rating to overweight from equal weight. Shares of American Medical Systems Holdings rose 60 cents, or 4.4%, to $14.22.