Plot Thickens at Amylin: Eastbourne Capital Enters Power Play With Carl Icahn

2/2/09Follow @xconomy

Carl Icahn isn’t the only one who sees an opportunity to shake things up at San Diego-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals. Today, Eastbourne Capital Management announced it, too, plans to nominate a slate of five new directors for election to the company’s 12-member board at the upcoming annual meeting.

Eastbourne, which says it owns 12.5 percent of the shares in Amylin (NASDAQ: AMLN) plans to nominate Kathleen Behrens, Marina Bozilenko, Charles Fleischman, William Nuerge, and Jay Sherwood. The fund is making this move, it says, because it believes in the company’s products and pipeline, but “has lost confidence in the ability of Amylin’s current board and management team to execute an operational strategy that is in the best interest of shareholders.”

Eastbourne says its bid for influence on the board doesn’t conflict with Icahn’s effort. The billionaire investor announced a similar plan last week to nominate five new directors to the Amylin board.

“We have been a long-term shareholder in Amylin based on our belief that the company has unmatched potential, but we believe that this potential has been squandered and has resulted in a significant loss of shareholder value,” said Rick Barry, Eastbourne’s founder and portfolio manager, in a statement. “It is clear that we are not alone in our belief that significant change at the Board level is required to ensure that the proper steps are taken to maximize the commercial value of Amylin’s assets.”

Amylin (NASDAQ: AMLN) is coming off a very rough year. Sales of its biggest-selling product, exenatide (Byetta) for diabetes, fell 8 percent in the fourth quarter to $162.7 million. Demand has been falling for the drug since August, when the FDA warned physicians of several cases of patients who took the drug and developed pancreatitis, including two patients who died from the condition. Amylin shares fell 71 percent on the year.

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