Health stocks, although light on news, closed the week on a down note in line with the broader markets. The Nasdaq and Amex biotechnology indices each closed Friday down 0.9%. Components Amylin ( AMLN)and Biogen Idec ( BIIB) gave up 1.6% and 2%, respectively. Trubion ( TRBN) said Thursday post close that it extended by one year the research period under its deal with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth ( WYE). Under the terms of the extension, Wyeth is responsible for collaboration research funding of roughly $3.2 million in exchange for research services through Dec. 22, 2009. Trubion's shares initially rose, but ended the day down 14 cents, or 2.7%, at $5.14. Wyeth shares were ended roughly flat at $47.85. The stock is a component of the Amex Pharmaceutical index, which was down 1.3% at 284.77. Fellow component Merck ( MRK) said Friday that it met with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to discuss the not-approvable letter that the company received regarding its new-drug application for cholesterol drug MK-0524A, a combination of niacin and Cordaptive. The company said additional safety and efficacy data are required. Merck said the earliest it may be able to file a complete response to the FDA action letter will be 2010, and that the FDA suggested it wait for the results of a study expected to wrap up in January of 2013. The company also said it won't seek approval for its MK-0524B until it completes the response for MK-0524A. Shares fell 47 cents, or 1.3%, to $35.13.
Meanwhile, pharmaceutical company Biovail ( BVF) gave up 70 cents, or 6.2%, to $10.48, on Friday after CIBC World Markets analyst Maxime Paris downgraded the stock to sector underperform from sector perform and reduced its price target to $7.50 from $12 on concerns related to generic-drug pressures and expenses. In other health-care related stocks, Leerink Swann upgraded McKesson ( MCK) to outperform from market perform. Shares were up $1.04, or 1.9%, at $57.09. Also, UBS cut its target for managed health-care company Coventry Health Care ( CVH) to $35 from $49. That stock was trading down 25 cents, or 0.8%, to $31.05.