Canadian vaccine specialist Biomira is upping sticks and heading across the border to set up operations in the USA under a new name.

The firm, which for the moment is still based in Edmonton, Alberta, says that its shareholders have approved a plan which will see the company move to the USA and change its name to Oncothyreon. The newly-named entity is looking to establish its headquarters in or near Seattle.

The reason for the move is that Biomira is looking to raise its profile in the US financial markets and get access to a larger pool of investment capital. Also chief executive Robert Kirkman had previously noted that “relocating to a major biotechnology centre such as Seattle will provide greater opportunity to attract and retain key personnel."

The stock has not proved overly popular of late with investors and this has precipitated the move and name-change. Biomira shares recently closed below $1 for 30 consecutive trading days, and the Nasdaq told the firm it will be dropped from the listings unless its share price closes at $1 or more for at least 10 trading days before April 30 next year. In response, stockholders will now exchange one-sixth of a share of Oncothyreon for each one they own in Biomira.

Mr Kirkman claimed that the reverse stock-split will help the firm regain compliance with the Nasdaq rules and said that all the aforementioned steps “are essential elements of our vision to create long term sustainable value for our shareholders, and we are gratified that our shareholders have agreed”. He added that Oncothyreon will continue to “advance our exciting pipeline of anti-cancer product candidates to justify the confidence in our future represented by this vote”.

Much of what happens to the new entity will centre around the advancement of its lung cancer Stimuvax, which is partnered with Merck KGaA, into a global Phase III trial.