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John123 in Gainers & Losers,

Biogen surged 9% on takeover interest from Merck, Allergan

Biotechnology company Biogen Inc (BIIB) has drawn takeover interest from drug companies including Merck & Co Inc (MRK) and Allergan Plc (AGN), The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The talks were informal and preliminary, the Journal said, adding they may might not result in a deal, in part because Biogen may not be interested.

Shares of Biogen, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, closed up 9.4% at $330.11.

Officials at Biogen could not be reached for comment. Allergan spokesman Mark Marmur and Merck spokeswoman Lainie Keller said they do not comment on speculation.

The report came less than two weeks after Biogen reported surprisingly strong second-quarter earnings but said Chief Executive George Scangos, 68, would step down in coming months after a successor is found.

Although Biogen significantly raised its full-year earnings forecast, growth for its flagship Tecfidera treatment for multiple sclerosis has been slowing. The slowdown prompted the company last year to embark on a sweeping restructuring program to cut costs and focus on core areas, such as neurology, including treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

Merck, Allergan or other large drugmakers would benefit from acquiring Biogen and its experimental drugs in late-stage trials, which include treatments for Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy.

Good Q2 results, scarcity of assets in the industry, also Biogen is a leader in a multiple sclerosis treatment, so, imho BIIB looks very interesting to go long.