Shares of Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc (IDIX) are up nearly 234% at time of writing to $24.15 after announcing Merck (MRK), the second-biggest U.S. drugmaker, will buy the company for $3.85 billion in a bid to expand its portfolio of hepatitis C treatments.
According to the merger announcement, Idenix has three hepatitis C drugs in clinical development. An estimated 3 million people in the USA are chronically infected with the decease.
“Idenix has established a promising portfolio of hepatitis C candidates based on its expertise in nucleoside/nucleotide chemistry and prodrug technologies,” said Dr. Roger Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories. “Idenix’s investigational hepatitis C candidates complement our promising therapies in development and will help advance our work to develop a highly effective, once-daily, all oral, ribavirin-free, pan-genotypic regimen that has a duration of treatment as short as possible for millions of patients in need around the world.”
The deal values Idenix $24.50 per share, which is more than 3X Idenix’s Friday closing price of $7.23.
The boards of both companies have approved the deal and expect the transaction to close in the third quarter.
Shares of Merck were down a fraction in Monday trades.