Ariad stock up sharply for second straight day

Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. stock climbed sharply for the second consecutive day Friday on market speculation that the Cambridge biotechnology company is a takeover target.

Shares of Ariad closed up $1.47 to $8.99, gaining 19.5 percent on the Nasdaq exchange even as the broader markets tumbled. Ariad’s strong push followed a 12.07 percent stock gain on Thursday.

Traders were reacting to a report by the Mail, a British news website, that three global pharmaceutical giants — Eli Lilly and Co., GlaxoSmithKline PLC, and Shire PLC — had made overtures to Ariad about acquiring the company. None of the drug makers would comment.

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Ariad resumed selling its leukemia drug Iclusig in the United States last week after suspending sales in October when the Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert. Under an agreement between Ariad and the FDA, the treatment is being sold only to a narrow segment of patients — those for whom there are no other effective treatments.

Robert Weisman