Australia: Biotech firm Starpharma sells crop chemical business to Agrium for $26m

Australian biotech firm Starpharma Holdings has sold its agro-chemicals unit to Agrium, a major player in the farm products space. The transaction – which was done in cash – was valued at A$35 million ($26.4 million).

The business will now be operated by Agrium’s subsidiary, Loveland Products Inc, according to a statement.

Starpharma said that it will use the cash to strengthen the company’s balance sheet and focus on its core portfolios. It will also accelerate the commercialisation of its higher-value pharmaceutical dendrimer-based products, and to explore other opportunities in this area of the business.

With the net proceeds from the transaction, Starpharma estimates a cash balance of more than $60 million at 30th June 2017.

“The sale is an exciting milestone for the company and the culmination of our strategy to maximize the value of the Priostar technology… Agrium is an ideal buyer to realize the full potential of Priostar,” CEO Jackie Fairley said.

The acquisition is comprised of key patents, technical know-how, and a small number of staff based in Melbourne. It also entails the sale of Starpharma’s US unit, Dendritic Nanotechnologies Inc, and a newly created Australian subsidiary containing all Priostar and agrochemical intellectual property and business assets.

For Agrium, these assets will improve product performance and further enhance Agrium Retail’s solutions offering to growers. The tech has proven to provide better weed control and reduced environmental impacts, the company claimed.

Agrium is a major global producer and distributor of agricultural solutions, producing nitrogen, potash, and phosphate fertilizers.

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