Update (4:10 p.m.): Updated with Monday market close information.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Achillion Pharmaceuticals (ACHN) - Get Report surged Monday amid news that Merck (MRK) - Get Report would purchase biotechnology company Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) for $3.85 billion as it tries to strengthen its position in the increasingly competitive hepatitis C sector.
Achillion could be the next acquisition target for larger companies. CNBC reported Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Report and Abbvie (ABBV) - Get Report were both interested in buying Idenix but Merck secured the purchase. Those companies, among others, could now turn their focus to Achillion, which has a pipeline of hepatitis C drugs.
Merck will pay $24.50 a share in cash for Idenix, more than triple the company's closing price of $7.23 on Friday.
"Idenix has established a promising portfolio of hepatitis C candidates,'' said Dr. Roger Perlmutter, the president of Merck Research Laboratories, in a statement Monday.
Achillion stock closed up 47.57%, or $1.37, to $4.25. More than 46.9 million shares changed hands, which eclipsed the average volume of 1,420,150.
For more on the Achillion story, read TheStreet's Adam Feuerstein's article here.
ACHN Price data by YCharts
Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.