Get the latest news alerts: at Twitter.

Local Tech Wire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Speculation is spreading up and down Wall Street that GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) will soon make a bid for Maryland-based Human Genome Science (Nasdaq: HGSI).

The rumors drove up the price of Human Genome shares to a seven-year high on Tuesday. In after-hours trading overnight, shares soared another 15.6 percent, or $2.99, to $22.20.

The rally continued Wednesday with shares soaring as high as $22.78 in midday trading.

By the close, however, shares fell back to $20.50, a gain of 6.7 percent on the day.

Spokespersons for the companies aren’t commenting.

However, GSK Chief Executive Officer Andrew Witty has been making acquisitions while competitors are merging. GSK recently closed on Stiefel Laboratories, a Florida-based dermatology firm with a lab in RTP, for $2.9 billion.

GSK maintains its U.S. headquarters in RTP and employs some 5,000 people in the area.

Human Genome shares closed at $19.21 Tuesday, up $2.03 or 11.8 percent. The rumor is that GSK is preparing a $30-per-share offer. Human Genome shares climbed to their highest value since 2002.

London’s Daily Telegraph first reported the possible takeover bid on Monday.

In July, Human Genome reported positive clinical trial results for a possible lupus drug called Benlysta. GSK already is partnering with Human Genome on the drug.

"Financially it makes sense for [GSK] to take them out now," Think Equity analyst Jason Kolbert told Dow Jones news service. He also noted that he expected a study due out some time after Labor Day to confirm the prior results on the lupus drug, a likely result being a higher value for Human Genome shares.
According to Reuters, Thomas Weisel Partners analyst Ian Somaiya believes GSK could make a deal.

"Any acquisition should be in the mid- to high $20s if not close to $30," Somaiya told the news service. "The market opportunity for Benlysta is multibillion dollars."