Shares of drugmaker MedImmune rose after billionaire financier and shareholder activist Carl Icahn said he bought approximately 2.8 million shares, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.
MedImmune shares were also pushed higher by a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday which said infants and small children using the company's FluMist influenza treatment had 55% fewer cases of the illness compared with those given a traditional flu shot. Results of the study, which involved 8,475 patients, were initially released in May 2006.
"The data from this study were previously shown by MedImmune, but exposure in such a high-profile journal is sure to get the attention of many pediatricians who may otherwise have been slow to pick up on the advantage of FluMist over the traditional flu shot," said Prudential biotech analyst Jason Zhang, in a research report Wednesday.
Last October, Icahn was appointed chairman of biotech firm ImClone Systems about 20 months after he and his firm first started amassing a 14% stake in the beleaguered company in February 2005.
Icahn also disclosed that he trimmed his holdings in Time Warner to 20 million shares from 55 million shares and bought shares of Federated Department Stores, raising his stake to 6.8 million from 2 million.