Morning Buzz: NPS Pharmaceuticals (NPSP), Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (TKMR), Agenus Inc. (AGEN), Arrowhead Research (ARWR)

Shares of NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NPSP) are up nearly 9% to $45.45 in early trade Monday after the New Jersey-based drugmaker said it agreed to be bought by Ireland’s Shire plc (SHPG) for $5.2 billion in cash. Shire will pay $46 per share for NPSP. That’s a 9.8% premium to ticker’s $41.91 closing pps on Friday.

The transaction, which has been approved by both companies, allows the Irish-based drugmaker to accelerate its expansion in rare diseases such as gastrointestinal and endocrine disorders.

Share of NPSP are up 14.63% year-over-year, and 17.17% year-to-date.

The chart below shows where the equity has traded over the last 52 weeks.

Shares of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (TKMR) surged 43% to $22.68 in morning trading Monday after the company agreed to buy Pennsylvania-based OnCore Biopharma Inc to focus on developing hepatitis B virus treatment by combining multiple therapeutic methods.

The implied market value of the merged company is about $750 million, based on Tekmira stock’s closing price of $15.70 on the Nasdaq on Jan. 9, the companies said in a statement.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2015.

Agenus Inc.’s (AGEN) stock popped 21% Monday following favorable commentary on Friday’s Mad Money, and a price target raised at Maxim Group this morning. Maxim analysts raised their AGEN target to $11 from $10, saying Agenus’ stable of checkpoint modulators acquired via the 4-Antibody acquisition, will be opened up to Incyte Corporation (INCY-$73.21-NR), a company focused on cancer therapy.

AGEN shares recently gained $1.13 to $6.42. In the past 52 weeks, shares of Lexington, Massachusetts-based company, which is developing a portfolio of immuno-oncology candidates, including checkpoint modulators (CPMs), heat shock protein vaccines, and adjuvants, have traded between a low of $2.27 and a high of $6.49. Shares are up 103% year-over-year and 60.70% year-to-date.

Arrowhead Research Corp. (ARWR) shares tumbled 28% in early trade Monday, after FDA requested that the company start the at 1 mg/kg of ARC-520 rather than the proposed design of 2 and 4 mg/kg, and requested additional information be provided to the agency.

ARWR shares recently lost $2.41 to $6.65. The stock is down more than 21% year-over-year while gaining roughly 23% year-to-date. In the past 52 weeks, shares of Pasadena, Calif.-based company have traded between a low of $4.95 and a high of $27.63.

Arrowhead Research Corp. (ARWR), which closed Friday at $9.06, has a total market cap of $363.44M.

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