Update (4:07 p.m.): Updated with Monday market close information.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) shares exploded to a new 52-week high of $24.21 on Monday amid news that Merck (MRK) would purchase the biotechnology company for $3.85 billion as it tries to strengthen its position in the increasingly competitive hepatitis C sector.
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.
Idenix closed up 229.05%, or $16.56, to $23.79. More than 40.8 million shares changed hands, which eclipsed the average volume of 1.235 million.
For more on this story, read TheStreet's Adam Feuerstein's article here.