Applera Corp.'s Celera Genomics Group said it will buy Axys Pharmaceuticals Inc. for about $177 million in stock, adding drug discovery tools to a company best known for helping map the human genetic code. The offer values South San Francisco-based Axys at $4.65 a share. The stock jumped 91 cents, or 26%, to close at $4.36 on Nasdaq.
Celera, based in Rockville, Md., said it wants Axys, which has agreements with such drug makers as Merck & Co., Bayer and Aventis, to help find new medicines, partly for its research into how proteins work in cells. Axys also has scientists and equipment needed to speed the selection of possible drugs from the many targets identified through Celera's genetic research.
Celera shares rose 60 cents to close at $42.35 on the NYSE.