Merck & Co., the second-largest drugmaker in the United States, will buy Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. in order to expand its development of new drugs to treat the hepatitis C virus (HCV), reports. The $3.85 billion deal will pay Idenix holders $24.50 a share in cash.  

Merck drug reps say that buying the smaller Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company will help them develop a new once-a-day, all-oral regimen that will treat multiple strains of hepatitis C without ribavirin. The potential new treatment—which would combine Idenix’s latest nucleotide inhibitor, IDX21437, with two of Merck’s new hep C drugs—will also aim to achieve cures in a shorter period of time than competing treatments on the market, such as Gilead’s lead hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, and AbbVie’s new 3D regimen.

As a result of the deal, which has officially set a record for health care acquisitions over $100 million, Idenix’s shares on the stock exchange more than tripled in value to $23.79. Merck’s shares gained less than 1 percent, closing at $57.94 the day of the buyout.

To read the full Bloomberg report, click here.