Zelda Therapeutics Ltd (ASX:ZLD) (FRA:G1G) (OTCMKTS:ZLDAF) is expected to increase its market capitalisation and reach on merging with fellow international medicinal cannabis company Ilera Therapeutics LLC to become Zelira Therapeutics.
Subject to approval from Zelda shareholders and all conditions of sale being met, Zelda is proposing to acquire 100% of Ilera through an all-scrip transaction.
Zelda reported that the merger would bring together a “leading pipeline of clinical candidates, revenue-generating medicines, and a combined strategy to disrupt global medicinal cannabis and pharmaceutical markets”.
Industry disruption is a goal in many industries, including medicinal cannabis, which is a fast-growing pharmaceutical market.
Zelda's executive chairman Harry Karelis said, “This is a transformational opportunity for both companies.
“The merger will create one of the world’s leading medicinal cannabis companies with a rich pipeline of clinically validated products under development and unique access to the world’s largest and fastest-growing cannabis markets.”
Zelda is backed by key figures in the Australian biotechnology industry, including co-founders and directors Mara Gordon, Dr Stewart Washer and Karelis, and is jointly led by Karelis and managing director Dr Richard Hopkins.
The new Zelira will target international markets with its operations in Australia and the USA so it can access large, profitable and fast-growing medicinal cannabis market segments.
Zelira aims to bank receipts from HOPE brand Ilera cannabis formulations recently launched in Pennsylvania.
Ilera Therapeutics has rights to HOPE in other markets outside of the US state and has plans to market this and other products across the US and in global markets.
A Zelira dermatology subsidiary would also produce dermatology products created by board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr Karyn Grossman for the retail and cannabis regulated markets.
Zelda said its proposed merger would capture synergies and predicted it would help improve shareholder value for investors in both companies.
Karelis highlighted the potential for the merger to allow Zelda to speed up its plans to differentiate itself through “robust” clinical trials and be at the forefront of the medicinal cannabis sector worldwide.
He said, “The merger will enable the combined company to accelerate plans to disrupt the medicinal cannabis and pharmaceutical markets globally.”
An “excellent fit”
Ilera chairman Osagie Imasogie welcomed the merger, saying “Ilera Therapeutics and Zelda are an excellent and natural fit, given our respective clinical development strategies and operational expertise.
“Both companies have successful track records of creating substantial value for shareholders and, together, we will retain and further build on this focus.”
Imasogie predicted the merged Zelira would capture growth opportunities and in the rapidly expanding global medicinal cannabis market sectors.
He said, “Ultimately, our objective is to deliver high quality, clinically validated products and options to patients and physicians.”
Zelda is headquartered in Perth while Ilera is based in Newtown Square, Philadelphia.
A merger of Zelda and Ilera is likely to be completed by mid-December 2019 if Zelda shareholders agree at an annual general meeting to be held by November 30, 2019.