Why Myriad, Curis, and VIVUS Could Pop or Drop Today

Good morning, fellow Foolish investors! Let's check in on four health care stocks which could pop or drop today.

Myriad Genetics posts strong first-quarter earnings
Myriad Genetics (NASDAQ: MYGN  ) looks poised to surge higher this morning, after the maker of molecular diagnostic tests reported strong first quarter earnings that topped Wall Street estimates after the market closed yesterday.

Myriad, best known for its BRACAnalysis test for two rare genetic mutations in breast and ovarian cancers, reported earnings of $0.68 per share, or $55.5 million -- an 84% jump from the prior year quarter. Revenue climbed 52% year-over-year to $202.5 million. Myriad's robust top and bottom line growth easily topped the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.46 per share on revenue of $167.7 million.

Sales of the BRACAnalysis test, Myriad's most important source of revenue, climbed 43% year-over-year to $149.6 million. Myriad also produces another test that complements the BRACAnalysis test known as the BART test, as well as the COLARIS tests for colorectal and uterine cancer. Sales of those two tests jumped 225% and 19%, respectively. Sales of its other molecular diagnostic tests climbed 66% while companion diagnostic service revenue rose 54%.

Myriad also topped off the positive earnings announcement by raising its full year earnings forecast to a range between $1.92 to $1.97 per share, up from its prior forecast of $1.87 to $1.94 per share. That also exceeded the profit of $1.90 that analysts had expected. Lastly, the company also approved a $300 million stock buyback plan.

Investors certainly approved of the news, sending shares up over 13% in pre-market trading -- which could be a welcome reversal for Myriad, which has slumped nearly 7% over the past 12 months.

Curis could have a rough morning
Meanwhile, Curis (NASDAQ: CRIS  ) is sliding in pre-market trading after it reported third-quarter earnings that missed analyst estimates on the bottom line and announced a clinical hold on one of its studies.

Curis is best known for its skin cancer treatment Erivedge, which is marketed by Roche (NASDAQOTH: RHHBY  ) subsidiary Genentech. The company reported a loss of $0.02 per share, or $1.9 million -- an improvement over the loss of $0.04 per share, or $3.4 million that it reported in the prior-year quarter. However, analysts had expected Curis to post a narrower loss of a penny per share.

Curis' revenue came in at $7.2 million, a huge increase from the $578,000 it reported in the prior-year quarter. However, $6 million of that gain came from a milestone payment from Roche upon the European approval of Erivedge in July. An additional $1.1 million was attributed to royalty payments from Roche.

Curis also reported negative news regarding a phase 1 study of CUDC-427, its treatment for advanced and refractory solid tumors and lymphomas. The study was placed on a partial clinical hold by the FDA after the death of a patient due to liver failure a month after the treatment had been discontinued. As a result, new patients can no longer be enrolled in the CUDC-427 program until Curis revises its study protocol.

The crisis at VIVUS continues?
Last but not least, VIVUS  (NASDAQ: VVUS  ) is dropping in pre-market trading after the maker of weight-loss drug Qsymia reported disappointing third quarter results, job cuts, and another executive departure.

VIVUS reported net product revenue of $6.4 million, all from Qsymia sales. The drug seems increasingly unlikely to hit the peak sales estimates of $1.2 billion that analysts had previously forecast. On its bottom line, VIVUS reported a net loss of $0.48 per share, or $48.2 million -- down from a loss of $0.40 per share, or $40.4 million, in the prior-year quarter.

VIVUS followed up those dismal results with an announcement that it would cut 20 jobs to reduce costs and replace its CFO. Those announcements shouldn't come as much of a surprise for investors who have been following VIVUS -- the company was previously engaged in a proxy fight with an activist investor, changed CEOs three times in two months, and let its president, Peter Tam, resign after two decades with the company.

On the bright side, VIVUS recently found a marketing partner for its erectile dysfunction drug. But it could be too little, too late for VIVUS, whose stock has fallen more than 30% over the past 12 months.

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