Share prices of three biotechnology companies rocketed in thepast week amid a general rise in the sector's stocks.

Investment units of Cortex Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Irvine,Calif., was the top gainer, closing Monday at $2.88 per unit, a 38percent jump from $1.625 the previous Monday. ImmuneResponse Corp. (NASDAQ:IMNR) of San Diego closed Monday at$6 a share, up $2.75, or 85 percent, during the same period.Cell Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:CELL) of Boulder, Colo., closed up44 percent at $1.69 a share.

Spokesmen for Cortex and Immune Response could point to nospecific reason for the sharp price rises. Cortex last week saidHarvey Sadow, formerly chairman of Boehringer IngelheimCorp., was named Cortex chairman. A closed-circuit televisionprogram on new vaccine technology may have sparked interestamong institutional investors for Immune Response, saidspokesman Steven Basta.

Cell Technology said last week it was paring back research inbiological response modifiers because of disappointing clinicaltrials of its ImuVert product. It also bought PioneerPharmaceuticals Inc. in an effort to build an over-the-counterdrug business and formed an alliance in Latin America.

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