Earnings results and forecasts affected health stocks on an overall flat Wednesday.

Shares of Acorda Therapeutics ( ACOR) dipped 9.9% to $23.73. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said research and development expenses increased by roughly $4 million over the last sequential quarter, and are expected to continue to increase in 2008, primarily due to an increase in spending on the Fampridine-SR clinical and preclinical programs.

Acorda said net loss was about $14 million for its fourth quarter and about $38 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2007, and expects its net loss in 2008 to increase, given its anticipated increase in expenses.

Separately, the company said it will sell 2.67 million shares of its common stock in a public offering, and an additional 83,000 shares will be offered by a selling stockholder. The company is granting underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 412,500 more shares to cover overallotments. Proceeds will go to late-stage development and regulatory filing of Fampridine-SR in multiple sclerosis.

Also trailing midweek, Edwards Lifesciences ( EW) said Tuesday post-close that it earned $15.8 million, or 27 cents a share, vs. $20.7 million, or 34 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding items, the company reported profit of 56 cents a share, on revenue of $293 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for 53 cents a share on revenue of $280 million.

The company expects first-quarter profit between 47 cents and 51 cents a share, which is below the expectations of analysts polled by Thomson Financial who expected first-quarter profit of 53 cents a share. But, for the full year 2008, the company expects profit between $2.32 and $2.40 a share, while analysts predicted $2.33 per share. Shares were down 3.5% at $45.43.

In the other direction, post-close Tuesday, Invitrogen ( IVGN) reported its fourth-quarter earnings from continuing operations rose to 82 cents from 46 cents. On an adjusted basis, earnings rose to $1.05, vs. the $1 a share Thomson Financial consensus target.

Separately, Invitrogen said it reached a settlement on multiple patent lawsuits that were pending over a course of about eight years with Agilent Technologies. Agilent will make an undisclosed settlement payment to Invitrogen and end sales of enzyme product RNase H minus RT, while Invitrogen will pay Agilent an undisclosed royalty on the sale of certain DNA-related products. Shares were up 5.8% to $88.22.

More earnings: On a GAAP basis, Biogen Idec ( BIIB) reported earning $201 million, or 67 cents a share, in the fourth quarter. On an adjusted basis, it reported $266 million, or 89 cents a share, vs. $183.5 million, or 53 cents a share, in the year ago quarter. Quarterly revenue increased 26% to $893 million, while analysts surveyed by Thomson financial were looking for 80 cents a share on revenue of $836 million.

For 2007, the company reported earning $638 million, or $1.99 a share, on a GAAP basis. On an adjusted basis, it earned $879 million, or $2.74 a share, vs. $776 million, or $2.25 a share, a year earlier. The company said in January that 2007 EPS would be above the upper end of the guidance of $2.70. Biogen reported 2007 revenue of $3.17 billion, surpassing analysts' expectations of $3.11 billion. Shares added 1.1% to $61.18. Click here for more on Biogen's earnings.

Meanwhile, post-close Tuesday Sangamo Biosciences ( SGMO) announced a quarterly loss of $6.7 million, or 17 cents a share, vs. a loss of $8.9 million, or 26 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting a loss of 13 cents a share. Revenue increased 26 percent to $2.8 million, in line with analyst expectations.

For the full year, the company lost $21.5 million, or 58 cents a share, vs. a loss of $17.9 million, or 55 cents a share in 2006.

JMP Securities lowered its price target for the company to $18 from $30 on Wednesday. Shares were down 4.7% at $11.31.

Another change, Punk, Ziegel & Co. lowered its price target for Cypress Biosciences ( CYPB) to $15 from $22. That stock traded down 4% to $8.20, on higher-than-average volume.

Sangamo and Cypress Biosciences are both components of the Nasdaq biotechnology index, which was up 2.56, or 0.3%, at 803.58.

And elsewhere, specialty pharmaceutical company Alpharma ( ALO) said Wednesday that it will sell its Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) business to certain investment funds managed by 3i for $395 million in cash, with expected net proceeds of $365 million. API, which develops and markets pharmaceutical ingredients used by third parties, saw net sales of $138.7 million and operating income of $30.7 million in the nine months ended Sept. 30.

The company, which expects the deal will close in the second quarter, saw shares tack on 7.4% to $24.49.

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