Zelda Merger Creates International Medicinal Cannabis Company

Zelda Therapeutics (ASX: ZLD) has announced plans to enter a merger of equals with international medicinal cannabis company Ilera Therapeutics to become Zelira Therapeutics.

On Wednesday, Zelda Therapeutics (ASX: ZLD) announced a proposed merger of equals with Ilera Therapeutics LLC, a private medicinal cannabis company based in the United States.

Following shareholder approval, Zelda is also proposing an acquisition of Ilera through an all-scrip transaction.

The all-scrip transaction includes a nearly $9m upfront payment and 725 million performance rights.

According to Zelda, the merger will "bring together a leading pipeline of clinical candidates, revenue-generating medicines, and a combined strategy to disrupt global medicinal cannabis and pharmaceutical markets."

Based in Pennsylvania and Louisiana, Ilera has clinical networks and distribution channels that stretch across North America, giving the company access to over 130,000 currently registered medicinal cannabis patients in Pennsylvania.

The company is developing a pipeline of formulations and proprietary platform technologies designed for specific conditions, targeting sleep, pain, anxiety, calmness & focus, as well as running an Observational Autism Trial.

Under the new name Zelira, the merged companies will combine to create a global cannabis company with operations in Australia and the US, bringing together a portfolio of revenue-generating medicines and products that are expected to enter the market from 2020.

Zelira's launch, learn and develop' model will include commercializing unique products in order to target large addressable markets such as pain, sleep, and anxiety

Ultimately, our objective is to deliver high quality, clinically validated products and options to patients and physicians. Osagie Imasogie, Ilera Therapeutics' Chairman

The merged company will gain several highly experienced key players from Ilera who each have proven track records, including Mr. Osagie Imasogie as Chairman and Ms Lisa Gray as Director.

Together Mr. Imasogie and Ms. Gray share over 30 years' experience in the fields of law, corporate finance, intellectual property, global healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry.

The pair were also part of the team which founded Ilera Healthcare LLC, which went on to be acquired by TerrAscend Corp in a deal ranging between US$125m – US$225m on September 16, 2019.

Disclaimer: Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

Disclaimer: past performance is not an indicator of future performance

Zelira Therapeutics will bring in revenue through proprietary cannabis formulations sold under the HOPE brand in Pennsylvania, alongside developing CBD and cannabis-based dermatology products with Dr. Karyn Grossman, an internationally renowned, Harvard trained, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist.

On the topic of the merger, Zelda's Chairman, Harry Karelis commented "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."

"As markets for medicinal cannabis become increasingly regulated, our strategy of undertaking robust clinical trials to validate and differentiate our products is recognised as being at the forefront in this sector. The merger will enable the combined company to accelerate plans to disrupt the medicinal cannabis and pharmaceutical markets globally," Karelis concluded.

Ilera Therapeutics and Zelda are an excellent and natural fit, given our respective clinical development strategies and operational expertise.Ilera Therapeutics' Chairman, Osagie Imasogie

Osagie went on to say that "both companies have successful track records of creating substantial value for shareholders and, together, we will retain and further build on this focus. Our ability as a merged company to immediately capture growth opportunities in the rapidly expanding global medicinal cannabis market will be significantly enhanced."

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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