Health Winners & Losers: Myriad Genetics

Pharma stocks outpaced the broader indices at the start of the July-Fourth week, amid a handful of regulatory news and prescription data.

One stock on the decline, however, was Myriad Genetics ( MYGN), which said Monday that a late-stage study of Flurizan in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease achieved neither of its main goals and that it will subsequently discontinue development of the drug.

The company will still garner the $100 million upfront payment from new-and-now-former ex-U.S. partner, Danish company Lundbeck. But shares were down by $2.35, or 4.9%, at $45.58.

Meanwhile, in regulatory news, Indevus Pharmaceuticals ( IDEV) said that it received an approvable letter from the Food and Drug Administration regarding Nebido, its long-acting injectible testosterone. The company had already disclosed earlier in June that the FDA would require additional safety data. The company said Monday that the FDA's approvable letter generally confirmed its prior communication and that it still plans to file a new application for the drug in roughly 18 months.

In light of the delay, the company is employing a cost-savings plan that involves a 12% reduction in workforce among other expenses. Shares, which initially climbed were lately down 4 cents, or 2.6%, at $1.52.

Elsewhere, according to IMS prescription data, Genentech's ( DNA) Avastin surpassed analyst expectations in May and the recent quarter. Deutsche Bank's Mark Schoenebuam said the sales imply $655 million for the second quarter, vs. his $611 million estimate, and Lazard's Sendek said they imply $677.7 million, vs. his $640 million estimate. Shares were up $2.26, or 3.1%, at $74.98.

The prescription data suggest Amgen's ( AMGN) Aranesp and Epogen sales are also likely to surpass consensus targets with Aranesp sales remaining relatively flat and Epogen sales growing 10% quarter over quarter, according to Deutsche Bank's Schoenebaum. Sales of Neupogen/Neulasta and Enbrel look relatively in-line with consensus targets.

Amgen shares were up 81 cents, or 1.8%, at $47.18.

In Big Pharma stocks, GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK) said it responded to the FDA's December 2007 complete-response letter regarding approval of its cervical vaccine Cervarix. The company said that it has decided to augment its application for approval with final phase III efficacy data due out later this year to be included in the label. The interim data for this study were included in the original application -- the company anticipates submitting the final data in the first half of 2009. Glaxo shares were up by 23 cents, or 0.5%, at $44.21.

Also, Pfizer ( PFE) received approval for Convenia, a single-dose antibiotic for the most common skin infections dogs and cats, that provides up to 14 days of treatment. Its shares traded up 18 cents, or 1%, to $17.46.

Amgen, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer are all components of the Amex pharmaceutical index, which rose 1.3% to 290.76. The Nasdaq biotechnology index edged down 0.2% to 793.43, while the Amex biotechnology index was up 0.4%.

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