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Ahead of the Bell: Affymax

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Affymax plunged more than 80 percent Monday before the opening bell after severe allergic reactions and the deaths of some kidney dialysis patients forced a recall of its anemia drug.

Affymax and its partner, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., said Saturday that more than 25,000 patients have received Omontys, which is used against anemia in patients undergoing kidney dialysis.

The companies said that 0.2 percent of the patients who have received the drug, about 50, have reported severe allergic reactions. Around 0.02 percent of patients, about five, died following their first dose.

The serious hypersensitivity reactions occur within 30 minutes of the drug being administered for the first time.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Joel Sendek stripped the company of his previous 'buy' rating, saying that the company is worth about $1.90 per share without the drug.

Shares of Affymax Inc., based in Palo Alto, Calif., dropped $13.58 to $2.94 in premarket trading. Over the past 52 weeks, the shares have traded between $10.20 and $27.74, but are down about 40 percent from their October peak.