Clavis Drug Failure Prompts Oil and Gas Consulting Expansion

Clavis Pharma ASA, a Norwegian biotechnology developer, is to expand into consulting for the offshore oil and gas industry after its experimental leukemia treatment failed in a late-stage trial.

Clavis Pharma, whose shares have slumped almost 97 percent during the last 12 months, has agreed to buy Aqualis Offshore Ltd., a marine and engineering consultant, for 70 million kroner ($11.5 million), it said in a statement today. The company will carry out a 54 million kroner share issue to raise funds for the acquisition, it said.

“The proposed acquisition represents a change in strategic direction for Clavis to include a new business area of specialist marine and engineering consultancy services,” the company said. “The existing pharmaceutical activities of Clavis will remain as a separate business area.”

Aqualis, based in London, has operations in Norway, the U.S, Brazil, Singapore, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, according to its website. Durig the last three months it’s signed contracts valued at more than $7 million, Clavis Pharma said.

Ferncliff, which is owned by Norwegian investor Oeystein Stray Spetalen, controls a 51 percent stake in Aqualis. Spetalen is also a board member of Clavis Pharma.

Shares in Clavis Pharma gained as much as 18 percent, the most in almost five months, and traded 8.2 percent higher at 1.97 kroner as of 9:35 a.m. in the Norwegian capital. That gives the company a market value of 66.5 million kroner.

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