Australian flu maker Biota to move to U.S. in merger

Australian pharmaceutical developer Biota, the maker of a popular influenza drug, recently announced plans to move to the United States as part of a merger with U.S.-based Novi Pharmaceuticals.

Biota, known as the producer of the influenza drug Relenza, said that the newly forming company will be listed on the U.S. Nasdaq index. The company said that the move will give investors a better chance at understanding the biotech's value, according to Yahoo Finance.

The new company, to be called Biota Pharmaceuticals, will have its headquarters among several other U.S. biotechs in Rockville, Maryland.

Biota chairman Dr. Jim Fox said the move was, in part, designed to achieve better value recognition and liquidity through a stronger U.S. shareholder base. Fox said that Australian investors failed to recognize the importance of Biota's $231 million contract with the U.S. Office of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

The contract for the advanced development of Laninamivir, a second-generation flu drug, was almost 1.4 times bigger than Biota's market capitalization at the time.

"Just an amazing contract, but the marketplace didn't really understand that," Fox said, Yahoo Finance reports."We believe the U.S. market will appreciate what we've got and better reflect the value of our assets than staying in Australia."