December's jump brought ArQule stock's 2019 gain up to a whopping 621%. For context, the S&P 500 returned 31.5% last year.
The all-cash, $2.7 billion deal values ArQule at $20 per share, representing a fat 107% premium over the stock's closing price of $9.66 on the previous trading day, Friday, Dec. 6.
What does Merck want with ArQule? The main prize is its drug candidate ARQ 531, which is in a phase 2 clinical study as a treatment for B-cell malignancies. (B-cell malignancies include non-Hodgkin lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.)
In the press release, Merck Research Laboratories president Roger Perlmutter said, "This acquisition strengthens Merck's pipeline with the addition of these strategic assets including, most notably, ARQ 531, a compelling candidate for the treatment of B-cell malignancies."
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.