Down. Down. Down. Biotech stocks found little immunity from the larger sell-off and market mayhem on Tuesday, although a few companies had news of their own to share.The suspense hangs as Cardiome Pharma ( CRME) and its co-development partner Astellas Pharma said Tuesday that they've been informed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the agency hasn't made a decision regarding Kynapid (vernakalant hydrochloride) for atrial fibrillation or irregular heart rhythm. The FDA's goal date for deciding whether to approve the drug, which will be Cardiome's first on the market if approved, was January 19. In December, an FDA advisory panel voted 6-2 to recommend the FDA approve Kynapid. Shares were trading down 58 cents, or 8%, at $7.02. Alas, one winner -- Ventana Medical Systems ( VMSI) succumbed to the temptation of Roche's advances, which have been ever-present since June of 2006. The company agreed to be purchased for $3.4 billion, or $89.50 a share, in cash - a 4.9% premium to Ventana's closing price on Friday, but a 19.3% premium to Roche's initial offer and a 72.3% premium to Ventana's closing price the day before the initial offer. Christopher Gleeson will remain CEO of Ventana's business after the merger and will become a member of the Roche Diagnostics Executive Committee. Shares were up $3.72, or 4.4%, to $89.05. And, a smaller buy, Teva ( TEVA) will spend $400 million to acquire CoGenesys a private, development stage biopharmaceutical company that's focused on peptide and protein based medicines. The biologics company, which is developing drugs for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders, was a division of Human Genome Sciences ( HGSI), prior to being spun off in June of 2006. The deal is expected to close in the first half of the year. In earnings, Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) benefitted from a favorable currency impact and beat estimates despite sliding sales of its Cypher stent and anemia drug Procrit. The company's quarterly sales increased 16.6% year over year to $16 billion, bringing the total to $61.1 billion for the year, while the Street was looking for revenue of $15.4 billion and $60.55 billion, respectively. Johnson & Johnson earned $2.4 billion, or 82 cents a share, for the quarter -- $2.5 billion, and 88 cents a share, before items, while analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial anticipated 86 cents a share. For the year, Johnson & Johnson saw profit of $10.6 billion, or $3.63 a share, decreases of 4.3% and 2.7%, respectively. Excluding items, the company recorded $12.1 billion, or $4.15 a share, vs. the Thomson Financial consensus target of $4.13 a share. Shares were trading down 94 cents, or 1.4%, at $65.34. The stock is a component of the Amex pharmaceutical index, which was down 11.3, or 3.4%, at 323.03. Meanwhile, Barr Pharmaceuticals ( BRL) said it is in talks with Johnson & Johnson's Ortho Women's Health & Urology unit to settle a patent dispute involving the oral contraceptive Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo. A U.S. District court in New Jersey postponed the patent infringement trial for the settlement discussions. The company said terms won't be released until an agreement is reached. Barr was trading up 52 cents, or 0.97%, at $54.03. Earnings watch for Wednesday morning: Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are looking for Abbott ( ABT) to report profit of 92 cents a share on revenue of about $6.96 billion for the quarter, and $2.83 a share on revenue of $25.56 billion for the year. Also, two companies with post-close earnings on Wednesday: Analysts are expecting Gilead ( GILD) to report 40 cents a share (44 cents a share on an adjusted basis), on revenue of about $1.087 billion for the quarter, and $1.66 a share, on revenue of $4.22 billion for the year.
And the Thomson Financial consensus target for Stryker ( SYK) is 66 cents a share on revenue of $1.6 billion for the quarter, and $2.40 a share on revenue of $5.95 billion for the year.