NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Ventrus Biosciences (VTUS) surged Thursday despite a lack of significant news on the company in much the same way other biotech stocks Prana Biotechnology (PRAN) and DARA Biosciences (DARA) had risen earlier in the week.
The stock was up 28.06% to $1.32 at 12:23 p.m. More than 5.5 million shares had changed hands, compared to the average volume of 475,097.
Ventrus agreed to merge with Assembly Pharmaceuticals earlier in the month in an all-stock transaction. The combined company will be known as Assembly Biosciences and will trade on the NASDAQ under the ticker ASMB. This new company will focus on the development of Assembly's small molecules to treat, and possibly cure, the hepatitis B virus infection.
Ventrus will issue approximately 23 million shares of common stock to Assembly's stockholders under the deal. At the time of issuance, 20,322,760 shares will be issued common stock and 2,829,740 shares will be shares underlying stock options of Assembly. The companies expect the merger to be completed by July 10, 2014.