Idenix (IDIX) Surges As Rumor Mill Enters Overdrive

January 10, 2012 4:44 PM EST
Even though Idenix Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: IDIX) jumped 37 percent Monday following this weekend's takeover of Inhibitex (Nasdaq: INHX) by Bristol-Myers at a 163% premium, the upside in the stock wasn't done. The stock rocketed another 24 percent Tuesday as takeover talk grew from a whisper into a roar.

With hep-C drug rivals Inhibitex and Pharmasset (Nasdaq: VRUS) now acqruied, Idenix and Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ACHN) are the "only acquirable asset in their respective classes," analysts have commented.

Out of the two, analysts at Wedbush believe Idenix is more likely to be acquired first. This is due to the appetite for nucleotide inhibitors and the fact that IDX-184 now represents the only clinical-stage nucleotide that is not yet partnered.

IDIX is expected to report important 30-day safety and efficacy data of IDX-184 this month. If this data is positive, Wedbush expect the company to be acquired "shortly thereafter."

Merck (NYSE: MRK) is being mentioned as a likely buyer from Idenix.

Today's the MRK-IDIX rumor mill went into overdrive after noted biotech reporter Adam Feuerstein of TheStreet tweeted: @adamfeuerstein "Chatted w/ a Hep C bull. His prediction: $MRK buys $IDIX for $3 billion. Game on."

Later Feuerstein clarified that the tweet was a "PREDICTION" and not a "RUMOR." "There is a difference," he said.

FYI - A $3 billion price tag would work out to a price per share of around $31 per share.

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