Published 13 January 2012
NZX-listed agricultural research company Genesis Research & Development Corp Ltd has signed a memorandum of understanding to merge with unlisted public Australian pharmaceutical development company Mariposa Health Ltd.
A company fronted by controversial Chinese entrepreneur May Wang, UBNZ Funds Management Ltd, took a 19.5% stake in Genesis in mid-2010, turning up as a saviour 2 months after Genesis had suspended operations for lack of funding.
Ms Wang sprang to attention in 2010 when she & UBNZ proposed buying the Crafar family’s $200 million portfolios of farms from their receivers, but Ms Wang was adjudicated bankrupt in December 2010 and Cabinet Ministers Maurice Williamson & Kate Wilkinson declined consent for the purchase a fortnight later.
In October 2011, the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption charged Ms Wang with giving bribes of $HK73 million and issued a warrant for the arrest of Auckland-based associate Jack Chen on related charges.
Genesis chief executive Stephen Hall said at that time: “In view of these developments, Genesis does not intend to proceed with any further business dealings with UBNZ.”
Looking at a brighter future yesterday, Mr Hall said: “Genesis has been reviewing a number of investment opportunities in the life sciences & other industries and has determined that Mariposa is the best prospect for Genesis shareholders. It has a well developed lead product and other projects that can progress into human clinical trials in the near future.
“The proposal is subject to various conditions, including completion of due diligence investigations, completion of transaction documents and receipt of necessary regulatory approvals.
“The merger will be effected by Genesis issuing about 200 million shares to acquire all the outstanding capital of Mariposa. Genesis plans to raise funding for the product development programme by issuing further shares.
“Existing shareholders of Genesis will retain the right to receive 50% of the proceeds from any sale or realisation of the Genesis interest in Real Time Genomics Inc that occurs within the next 5 years (providing they retain their shareholding until realisation) in addition to all normal rights as shareholders of Genesis. The remainder of any proceeds will accrue to the benefit of Genesis and all its shareholders at that future date.
“Documentation will be mailed to shareholders to approve the proposed transaction at a special general meeting at a date to be advised.”
Mr Hall said Mariposa had several development projects: “The lead product is TA-270, which is being developed as a tablet formulation for the treatment of chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) & neutrophilic asthma. COPD is the fourth major cause of death in the developed world, with a significantly growing incidence. TA-270 has been the subject of 9 human clinical trials, including in excess of 700 subjects. Mariposa also has rights to an immune modulator to Golden staph (staphylococcus aureus) and a further compound awaiting patent submission.”
Genesis, a New Zealand-based biotechnology company, established Solirna Biosciences Ltd which is focusing on developing a novel single-stranded gene silencing technology using the RNAi mechanism. It also holds an equity interest in Real Time Genomics Inc and has royalty rights resulting from previous collaborations for various products that are being developed by other parties in the fields of agriculture, forage grass & forestry.
18 April 2011: Shanghai Pengxin lodges Crafar application
24 December 2010: Government rejects Natural Dairy bid for Crafar farms
31 August 2010: May Wang-supported Genesis Research cuts loss
30 June 2010: May Wang turns into saviour for Genesis Research
9 December 2010: May Wang bankrupt
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Attribution: Company releases, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.