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Our roundup of Canadian small-caps of between $100-million and $2.5-billion in market capitalization making news and on the move today.

Pretium Resources Inc. (PVG-T; PVG-N) issued a short release late Thursday saying it has retained independent legal counsel “to initiate an investigation of unusual trading activity in its shares.” The stock dropped 11 per cent on the TSX on Wednesday and another nearly 7 per cent on Thursday to close at $9.63.

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Velan Inc. (VLN-T) announced measures it said are aimed at improving its operational efficiency and optimizing its manufacturing footprint in North America.

Velan said it will consolidate its valve manufacturing facilities in Quebec from three plants into two by the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021. "The current production will be integrated into the company's other valve facilities in Quebec and India, which will be focused on the production of specific valve lines to improve delivery and supply chain efficiency," the company stated, adding that it's objective is to minimize the impact of the layoffs taking into account attrition and retirements.

“To better confront the competitive trends in the industry and after an in-depth strategic diagnosis, Velan is undertaking several transformative initiatives to return to profitability and growth," stated CEO Yves Leduc. "We are on the right track this year, allowing us to take a measured approach to this consolidation while benefiting from the reduction of costs it will afford.”

The company also reported third-quarter sales of US$92.3-million up from US87.7-million a year ago and a net loss of US$200,000 or a penny per share versus a profit of US$300,000 or 2 cents a year ago.

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Aphria Inc. (APHA-T) confirmed Friday that two key executives will step away from the Canadian cannabis grower in the coming months.

Chief executive officer Vic Neufeld and co-founder Cole Cacciavillani, both in their sixties, will step down from their roles and hand over the reins to Aphria’s president Jakob Ripshtein and newly appointed chair Irwin Simon, the Leamington, Ont.-based company said in a news release. After the transition, Mr. Neufeld and Mr. Cacciavillani will serve as special advisers to the chair and president until a new CEO is appointed.

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Their departures were first reported Thursday night by The Globe and Mail and come weeks after Aphria was attacked by two short-sellers for one of its recent transactions.

“Vic and I have worked tirelessly for decades, building great businesses, but now in our sixties, it is time for both of us to step back from the demands of leading a world-class organization," Mr. Cacciavillani said in a statement. "Endless meetings, travel, deadlines, talent search - the list of executive responsibilities will only continue to grow."

On Friday, Aphria also reported results for its second quarter. In the three months to Nov. 30, it booked $22-million in net revenue, selling 3,409 kilograms of cannabis. It also posted net income of $55-million, due mainly to gains on its investment portfolio from selling shares of Hiku Brands Company Ltd. and Liberty Health Sciences Inc.

- Christina Pellegrini

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Knight Therapeutics Inc. (GUD-T) announced it has entered into an exclusive license agreement with Puma Biotechnology, Inc. (PBYI-Q), granting Knight the exclusive right to commercialize NERLYNX® (neratinib) in Canada.

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“We are excited to partner with Puma to offer a new treatment option to Canadian breast cancer patients," said Jonathan Ross Goodman, CEO of Knight. “While adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy has been shown to reduce the risk of recurrence in early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer, up to 25 per cent of patients treated with adjuvant trastuzumab will have a recurrence. NERLYNX® has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of recurrence in those patients who were previously treated with trastuzumab.”

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Endeavour Mining (EDV-T) announced that it has increased its ownership stake in the Ity mine from 80 per cent to 85 per cent.

In exchange for the additional 5-per-cent interest in the Ity mine, Endeavour said it granted DYD International Holding Limited, a company owned by Didier Drogba, 1,072,305 common shares amounting to a total of about US$15-million.

The Government of Cote d’Ivoire owns 10 per cent of the mine and SODEMI (a government-owned mining company) owns the remaining 5 per cent.

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