Health stocks took another beating Wednesday, although the damage wasn't quite as severe as it was in the broader market, as the Nasdaq and Amex biotechnology indices lost roughly 4%. Among the stocks in the news, drugmaker Wyeth ( WYE) said European regulators requested that trials of its experimental Alzheimer's drug bapineuzumab be delayed while they review mid-stage data presented earlier this year. In July, data from a phase II study showed that patients didn't have a statistically significant benefit from treatment with the drug. Wyeth and its partner Elan ( ELN) called the results "encouraging," however, and said the data support the decision to conduct ongoing phase III studies. Shares of Wyeth, which also reported third-quarter earnings that declined slightly year over year, fell 11%. Elan gave up nearly 14%. Elsewhere, Merck ( MRK) met third-quarter expectations on Wednesday, factoring out a restructuring charge, but said it will cut another 12% of its workforce to save up to $4.2 billion by 2013. Shares were down 6.5%. GlaxoSmithKline's ( GSK) third-quarter net income fell 1.8%, but still surpassed expectations with help from exchange rates. The company maintained its full-year forecast of a mid-single digit decline in earnings per share in local currencies. Shares were off 3%. Also, Genzyme ( GENZ) beat profit estimates for the latest quarter, but it missed analysts' sales targets for its key products. Shares were down 3.2%. Amylin ( AMLN) reported a widened quarterly loss late Tuesday, falling short of analyst expectations. The company said it entered into a product-supply agreement for a once-weekly version of the diabetes drug Byetta, for which it now plans to file for approval by the end of the first half of 2009.
Genzyme Corporation (Nasdaq:GENZ) hit a new 52-week high Wednesday as it changed hands at $76.10 compared with its previous 52-week high of $76.09. Genzyme is currently trading at $76.08 with 210,583 shares changing hands as of 9:41 a.m.