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Maxygen says board approves liquidation of company

SAN MATEO, Calif. (AP) -- Drug developer Maxygen Inc. said Monday its board of directors approved the liquidation and dissolution of the company.

Maxygen said it will distribute $68.2 million to $69.6 million, or $2.45 to $2.50 per share, to its shareholders if they approve the liquidation. The company also said James Sulat will resign as CEO and chief financial officer on June 30, and company Chairman Isaac Stein will become its acting CEO and CFO.

The company could distribute additional cash, as much as 9 cents per share, over time as contingency reserves are released.

Almost all of Maxygen's research and development assets were transferred to a joint venture the company created with Astellas Pharma in 2009. In 2011 Astellas sold its interest in the venture to Astellas for $76 million.

Maxygen still owned an experimental drug candidate called Maxy-G34 and other assets, but said it did not plan to continue drug development on its own. The company said in 2012 that it would evaluate options included a merger, sale or liquidation. Maxygen returned about $100 million in cash to shareholders in September, and said it has returned $250 million to shareholders since 2009.

Maxy-G34 was designed to treat the blood disorder neutropenia.

Shares of Maxygen picked up 12 cents, or 5.1 percent, to $2.48 in afternoon trading.