Aeterna Zentaris plans reverse stock split

NEW YORK -- Canadian drugmaker Aeterna Zentaris Inc. said Wednesday that it will conduct a six-for-one reverse stock split to boost its share price and regain compliance with Nasdaq rules.

The split is expected to take effect Friday, and it will reduce the number of Aeterna Zentaris shares to 18.7 million from 112.4 million while increasing the company's stock price sixfold.

Nasdaq rules require that listed companies have an average closing price of at least $1 per share. Aeterna Zentaris stock has not closed above $1 since the beginning of April. On April 2 the company's stock plunged 66 percent, taking it from $2.13 to 73 cents, after a colorectal cancer drug it helped develop failed in late-stage clinical testing.

Since then the shares have traded between 38 cents and 94 cents. In Wednesday morning trading the shares declined 13 cents, or 18.5 percent, to 56 cents.