The Globe and Mail reports in its Saturday edition that Bellus Health shareholders have voted in favour of GSK PLC's $2-billion takeover of the Montreal-area cough-treatment developer. The $14.75-(U.S.)-a-share deal, which received 99.99-per-cent support Friday, is expected to close this month. It is the latest in a series of $1-billion-(U.S.)-plus takeovers of Canadian life-sciences companies, including Clementia, Trillium and Baylis's cardiovascular-device business. The deal is the culmination of a two-decade quest by Montreal's Bellini family to repeat the blockbuster success of HIV/AIDS drug developer BioChem Pharma, which Bellus chairman Francesco Bellini led and sold to Shire Pharmaceuticals PLC in 2001. After a series of misses, Dr. Bellini bought a stake in Bellus's predecessor, Neurochem Inc., and Dr. Bellini handed the reins to his son, Roberto. Bellus's next drug, which targeted a kidney ailment, failed effectiveness trials in 2016, but the younger Mr. Bellini pressed on, licensing global rights to a molecule from a local research institute that had potential as a cough suppressant. Bellus generated positive efficacy results in rodents and showed the drug, called camlipixant, was safe in humans.
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