Salix Pharmaceuticals has gone from fending off a hostile takeover to a stock split in a year’s time.

Salix (Nasdaq: SLXP), a developer of drugs for treatment of gastrointestinal diseases, announced before the markets opened Monday that its board had approved a 3-for-2 stock split effective June 30.

The company’s stock has more than tripled in value since Salix defeated a takeover bid last spring by Axcan, a Canadian firm.

Salix stock closed at $29.52 on Friday, up 77 cents. It hit a 52-week high of $35.46 at the end of May. The 52-week low is $10.14.
The stock price has climbed after the Food and Drug Administration announced marketing approval recently for Xifaxan, the first oral antibiotic for the treatment of traveler’s diarrhea. FDA marketing approval was announced May 26. It now has three drugs on the market, including Colazal, which was approved in July of 2000, and Azasan, which was launched in Feburary.

Salix has some 24 million outstanding shares.

Art Kamm, chief development officer at Salix, announced on May 28 that he was leaving the firm effective May 31 but would work with Salix as a consultant.