Updated from 2:07 p.m. EDT with new stock prices
Biotech stocks followed the broader markets Thursday amid a flurry of business news and analyst actions.
( TRCA) surged on news
, a French specialty drug company that owns 25% of the biopharmaceutical company, will buy all of the Tercica shares that it doesn't already own for $9 a share in cash. The deal values Tercica at $663 million. The price is a 104% premium to Tercica's closing price on Thursday.
Ipsen and its affiliates currently own roughly 25.3% of the company and agreed to immediately exercise its outstanding Tercica warrant and convert outstanding convertible notes, after which it will own around 42.7% of Tercica's outstanding stock.
Tercica shares jumped $4.39, or 99.6%, to $8.80.
Other stocks moved on analyst actions: Cowen and Co. upgraded
to outperform from neutral. Analyst Rachel McMinn said in a note to investors that she believes Vertex may disclose top-line interim results from the PROVE 3 trial in the coming weeks in conjunction with a release about phase III trial design in patients with hepatitis C who have tried other treatments unsuccessfully . Based on the prospective strength of teleprevir 3-times-daily and 2-times-daily data, McMinn upped her peak sales estimate for telaprevir to $3 billion from $2.4 billion and accelerated her expectation for the drug's launch to 2010 from 2011.
Vertex shares climbed $3.72, or 12.9%, to $32.57.
Also Thursday, Credit Suisse analyst Michael Aberman downgraded
to neutral from outperform and lowered its price target to $24 from $30. Aberman wrote in a note to investors that after attending the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology this year, his team came away with a more cautious view on Regeneron's aflibercept based on its potential to result in more toxicity than
( DNA) Avastin. Regeneron's shares were down $3.79, or 19.9%, at $15.29. Genentech shares were up 58 cents, or 0.8%, at $73.05.
Back to business news,
announced a collaboration to develop and commercialize a series of diagnostic tests for genetic markers that Vanda indentified in the clinical development of Fanapta, which is currently under Food and Drug Administration review for schizophrenia. Financial terms of the agreement weren't disclosed.
Vanda shares added 31 cents, or 6.5%, to $5.11, while LabCorp gained 87 cents or 1.2%, to $75.29.
said it has entered into an agreement with shareholder Deerfield Management, and the health-care investment firm will provide the b iotech company with up to $150 million in financing through a flexible credit facility.
Funds can be drawn at any time over the next 18 months, and those drawn will be repayable five years after the singing of the facility agreement and can be repaid in shares of Exelixis common stock, or cash at any time during the agreement.
"We are in discussions for a number of transactions, and we want to make sure that we have the ability to work through our options, taking into account the outcome of some of the important milestones that we expect to reach later this year." said Exelixis CEO George Scangos in a release. Shares were up 34 cents, or 5.5%, at $6.50.
Elsewhere, activist investor Carl Icahn hasn't tired of soliciting the sentiment of
shareholders. Icahn, who's seeking three seats on Biogen's board at the company's June 19 annual meeting, recently won a lawsuit to access Biogen documents related to its for-sale process last fall. Biogen made the documents public on May 30 in a
Securities and Exchange Commission
Icahn made a proxy filing Thursday containing a memo entitled: "Biogen's sale process: When will we know the truth?" He criticized Biogen's board for having little input in the for-sale process, and alleged the documents related to the process are inconsistent with Biogen's public statements. He also claims that one bidder may have walked away due to a possible denial to talk to Biogen's Tysabri partner
Biogen's shares were up $2.31, or 3.7%, at $64.56.
Tercica, Vertex, Regeneron, Genentech, Vanda, Exelixis and Biogen Idec are all components of the Nasdaq biotechnology index, which was up 2.2% at 832.40. The Amex biotechnology index, which includes Vertex, Genentech and Biogen Idec, rose 2.4% to 783.78.