VeriChip Takes Off on H1N1 Win

| About: VeriChip Corporation (CHIP)
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An announcement today regarding the exclusive license granted to controversial chip-implant maker VeriChip (CHIP) for H1N1 detection sent CHIP shares hurtling nearly out of orbit -- up 178%, or over $2 per share -- to around $3.20 by Monday afternoon. Other news reports have cited that this is the biggest intra-day gain since the company went public in February 2007.

VeriChip's development partner, RECEPTORS LLC, has granted exclusive rights to VeriChip to develop one of its patents based on the "virus triage detection system" used to treat H1N1 virus, commonly known as "swine flu." The H1N1 virus sent shockwaves of worry about a dangerous pandemic developing world-wide, and just last week came FDA approval of the first treatments of the virus from Sanofi-Aventis SA (SFY), CSL Ltd, MedImmune (now a subsidiary of AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) and Novartis AG (NYSE:NOV).

VeriChip is best known for its human-implantible RFID (radio frequency identification) chip, which has sparked controversy from civil rights groups and religious organizations alike. Some opponents of the technology have derided VeriChip products as "spy chips."

However, others see the chips' uses -- such as the VeriMed Health Link System, which can quickly identify emergency room patients who cannot communicate for themselves -- as part of the growing technological realm being developed to help counter both wide-scale viral outbreaks as well as the ability to ensure prompt treatment based on immediate access to medical records.

Earlier this month, VeriChip announced its acquisition of Steel Vault Corp. two weeks ago. The company's plan is to change the name to PositiveID and remain trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol PSID. This news item caused a moderate bump in CHIP's stock price, but nowhere near what today's buying frenzy has wrought.