Shares of Vancouver-based QLT Inc. (TSX:QLT) are up today after announcing it had signed a definitive agreement to merge with specialty biopharma Auxilium.
The new company will assume Auxilium’s headquarters in Pennsylvania. Although QLT will delist from the TSX, it will remain incorporated in British Columbia and will be renamed “New Auxilium”.
QLT Chairman Jason Aryeh commented on the deal.
“We believe that this is an excellent transaction for QLT shareholders and provides them with the opportunity to benefit from the potential upside of the combined company,” he said. “We believe that Adrian Adams and the Auxilium team have proven their ability to execute and deliver on a strategy for providing quality specialty biopharmaceutical products to fill significant unmet medical needs around the world. I am confident that under their leadership, and with the advantages presented by our combined organization, this transaction will leave the merged company well positioned to achieve sustained growth.”
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Founded in 1981 as Quadra Logic Technologies, QLT went public in 1986 at $2.50 per share. In 2000, the year QLT received FDA approval for macular degeneration treatment Visudyne, the company’s shares soared to over $100 a share. But things came crashing back to earth after Visudyne brought in less revenue than anticipated, and shares of QLT fell to just over the $2 mark in 2009, before a modest rebound. The treatment remained a disappointment, numbers-wise, before the U.S. rights were sold to Valeant Pharmaceuticals for $62.5 million in September of 2012.
At press time, shares of QLT on the TSX were up 15.5% to $6.70.