Why Achillion Pharmaceuticals (ACHN) Stock Is Surging Today (Update)

Update (4:20 p.m.): Updated with Tuesday market close information.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Achillion Pharmaceuticals  (ACHN) surged for a second consecutive day on Tuesday after the FDA removed its clinical hold on sovaprevir, one of Achillion's four experimental hepatitis C treatments.

The FDA had placed the hold in June because of abnormal liver results in patients. Achillion can now begin trials with a once-daily maximum dose of 200 mg of sovaprevir in hepatitis C patients and other healthy volunteers. 

The company also announced it had begun initial dosing with ACH-3422, another of its experimental hepatitis C treatments.

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Achillion surged Monday amid news that Merck (MRK) 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) and Abbvie (ABBV) 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.

The stock closed up 83.29%, or $3.54, to $7.79. More than 69.6 million shares changed hands, which dwarfed the average volume of 2,128,800.

For more on this story, read TheStreet's Adam Feuerstein's article here.

ACHN Price Chart

ACHN Price data by YCharts

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