This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Merck Buys Idenix -- Could Inovio or MannKind Be Next?: StockTwits

Stocks in this article: MRK IDIX INO MNKD

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Merck's (MRK) CEO may say he's against big mergers. But the pharmaceutical giant is clearly open to snapping up medium-sized biotech companies.

Merck proved its willingness to acquire multi-billion-dollar biotechs Monday with its $3.85 billion acquisition of Idenix  (IDIX), a drug company focused on treatments for human viral diseases including hepatitis B and C and HIV/AIDS.

The acquisition undermines comments made by Merck CEO Ken Frazier in an April earnings conference call that Merck would drive shareholder value through "innovation rather than consolidation." And it spurred investors on to debate the next biotech that could be consumed by Merck or another pharma giant.

$IDIX deal has made it clear that pipeline and technology platform are very important. $CLVS $SNTA (HDC platform) $PPHM ? Catalystinvestor (@Catalystinvestor) Jun. 9 at 11:05 AM

Merck entered a definitive agreement to buy Idenix for $24.50 per share in cash. The stock jumped 233.33% Monday morning to $24.10, reflecting the merger costs that could slightly erode the purchase price.

Merck said Idenix's "promising portfolio" of hepatitis C treatment candidates was the main driver of the deal. "Idenix's investigational hepatitis C candidates complement our promising therapies in development and will help advance our work to develop a highly effective, one-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," said Merck Research Laboratories president Roger Perlmutter.

Merck has its own hepatitis C drugs in development, including two in late-stage trials for FDA drug approval called MK-5172 and MK-8742. About 3.2 million Americans have the disease, which can destroy the liver, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control.

It's possible that Merck does not consider the acquisition a mega-merger. Merck's Frazier did say in April that the company would pursue "value-added bolt-on opportunities," according to a transcript. For a $169 billion company like Merck, perhaps anything under $10 billion that promises to augment drugs in the current pipeline qualifies as a "bolt-on."

Some investors on believe Merck may consider purchasing another biotech with antiviral vaccines in order to control the space. Inovio Pharmaceuticals  (INO) is a name often mentioned. The company, which develops synthetic DNA vaccines to treat hepatitis C, influenza and HIV, has a $621.42 million market cap. It is currently conducting human trials for a hepatitis C drug, influenza vaccines and an HIV vaccine.

Traders betting on Inovio to be next Idenix? $INO (also has hep C treatment) up 5% & top trender on StockTwits. $IDIX up 233% on $MRK deal?? ? John L. Bair (@JohnLBair1) Jun. 9 at 11:38 AM

Another name mentioned is MannKind  (MNKD). The company, which has an inhaled insulin treatment for diabetics awaiting final approval from the FDA, has run up nearly 166% on speculation of a takeover from the likes of Merck.

$MNKD At shareholders meeting, Al did say "we have not considered trying to market MKND and I don't think we will." Already in negotiations ? Jay Gunn (@paid2win) Jun. 9 at 11:47 AM

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,053.71 +23.50 0.13%
S&P 500 2,088.77 +6.89 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,806.8590 +33.3870 0.70%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs