Shares of biotechnology company Amylin gained as billionaire investor Carl Icahn is reported to have launched a power-play to place around five of his nominees to the company's board.
San Diego-based Amylin saw its shares rise 37 cents, 3.5 per cent, to close at $11.03 on Thursday, after falling nine per cent on Wednesday after the company announced a wider fourth-quarter loss widened on a drop in sales of a diabetes drug and large restructuring costs.
According to an SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) filing, Icahn said he intended to nominate five people to Amylin's board of directors, which presently has 12 members, and solicit proxies in their favour.
Reports quoted Amylin as saying that its corporate governance committee engaged in the process, which included potential nominees suggested by Icahn, of which two nominees had been previously discussed. In a statement, the company said that once the process was complete, "Amylin's board of directors will formally recommend a slate of nominees that it believes will act in the best interest of all shareholders."
Icahn has record of taking over the reigns of troubled companies by buying a stake in them, shaking up the board and then pushing for change or a sale. He executed the manoeuvre previously, eventually gaining control of ImClone Systems in 2006, and attempting to take control of Biogen Idec Inc. Eli Lilly & Co. then acquired ImClone for $6.5 billion in 2008, at a reported $70 per share.
However, the manoeuvre has failed for him as well, as is evident from his August 2007 bid of buying into Massachusetts-based Biogen, which is one of the largest makers of multiple sclerosis medicines. In following months, Icahn tripled his stake to around three per cent, and proposed buying Biogen for $23 billion, a move which prompted the company to put itself up for sale.
With no official offers forthcoming, including any from Icahn, Biogen announced on 12 December that it would no longer pursue a sale, wiping off around $5 billion in market value during trading the next day, as its ahre plumetted. After failing to persuade Biogen shareholders to elect his slate of directors to the company's board in June 2008, Icahn raised his stake to six per cent as of 11 August, 2008.
Icahn Capital LP is reported to be the fifth-largest shareholder in Amylin.
Sales of Amylin's diabetes formulation Byetta has seen its share value fall, after the drug was linked to cases of acute pancreatitis in 2008, both of which further dampened sales and raise concern over the approval of LAR, the next generation version of the drug. Eli Lilly and Amylin are partners on the drug, along with Alkermes Inc.
Byetta and LAR are likely to see competition from Novo Nordisk's development of liraglutide, and Merck & Co.'s Januvia already on the market. Reports said additionally, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and AstraZeneca are developing a treatment called saxagliptin, while Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals is also developing a drug called alogliptin.