Health Winners & Losers: Gilead

Biotech stocks overall ticked up slightly Thursday, but one notable exception was Cell Genesys ( CEGE), which sank 75% to 17 cents on word of a serious clinical setback.

The decline in Cell Genesys came after the company said it terminated a second study on its prostate cancer vaccine GVAX, and said it would cut 75% of its workforce.

Still, Cell Genesys did little to hurt the Nasdaq Biotechnology index, of which it's a component. The index added 3.3%, outperforming the broader market.

The Amex Biotechnology index added 2.1%. Components and biotech bellwethers Amgen ( AMGN) and Celgene ( CELG) added 1.6% and 1.5%, respectively.

Celgene ( CELG) and Acceleron Pharma said they have initiated a midstage trial on an investigational bone loss therapy in patients with multiple myeloma. It will trigger a $5 million milestone payment from Celgene to Acceleron.

Following the close, earnings are expected from Gilead ( GILD). Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are looking for a profit of 49 cents a share on $1.32 billion in revenue. Gilead shares were up 5.9% ahead of quarterly results.

Elsewhere, Brean Murray and Merriman Curhan Ford initiated coverage on multiple small- to mid-cap health-care stocks.

Brean Murray began coverage on Mentor ( MNT) with a hold rating. Shares were off by 1.5% at $15.82.

The firm also picked up coverage on Xtent ( XTNT), NuVasive ( NUVA) and Hansen Medical ( HNSN) with buy ratings. Xtent shares were up 9.8%, and NuVasive gave up 2.2%. Hansen Medical gained 6.6%.

Meanwhile, Merriman Curhan Ford started Dendreon ( DNDN) with a sell rating. The stock was down 1.7%, at $80.06. The firm began coverage on Ariad Pharma ( ARIA) with a neutral rating. Shares rose 7.3% to $1.61.

Last, it gave Exelixis ( EXEL), Sangamo ( SGMO) and Oncolytics ( ONCY) all buy ratings. Exelixis added 2.4%, Sangamo shares were down 1.1%, and Oncolytics tacked on 0.8%.

More from Investing

In Pugnacious Twitter Rant, Musk Proposes Website for Users to Rate the Media

In Pugnacious Twitter Rant, Musk Proposes Website for Users to Rate the Media

One-on-One With Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald (Watch)

One-on-One With Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald (Watch)

Marc Chaikin's Technical Tools: Cramer's Off the Charts

Marc Chaikin's Technical Tools: Cramer's Off the Charts

Carnival CEO Arnold Donald: China Will Become the Largest Cruise Market

Carnival CEO Arnold Donald: China Will Become the Largest Cruise Market

Bitcoin Today: Prices Plummet Below $8,000 in Market Downturn

Bitcoin Today: Prices Plummet Below $8,000 in Market Downturn