Amylin CEO, Putting Boardroom Coup Behind Him, Turns Up Heat on New Diabetes Drug

9/29/09Follow @xconomy

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sitagliptin (Januvia), Takeda Pharmaceutical’s pioglitazone (Actos), and Sanofi-Aventis’ insulin glargine (Lantus). Amylin and Lilly have completed their clinical trials, and turned in their application to the FDA during the heat of the proxy battle in May. The company now expects to hear a decision on whether they can start selling the product by the first week of March, Bradbury says.

“We think we have a unique value proposition for physicians and patients,” Bradbury says.

Investors are clearly focused on this exenatide once-weekly program, but they aren’t showing a lot of confidence that Amylin will maximize this opportunity. The stock has lost about a third of its value over the past year, closing yesterday at $13.13. It has burned through a breathtaking $1.87 billion of investment since it was founded in September 1987, according to its most recent quarterly report. Even though Amylin sells two drugs for diabetes, exenatide and pramlintide (Symlin), it has never been profitable.

Even in biotech, where it takes decades and sometimes hundreds of millions to develop a new drug, the bleeding is supposed to stop at some point, especially when a company has more than one product on the market. Last November, Amylin cut 340 jobs in an effort to curb operating expenses. The company eliminated another 200 sales rep jobs in May, with an eye toward becoming cash-flow positive by the end of 2010.

Entering this year, Bradbury says, Amylin laid out five strategic goals to get things going in the right direction, and he says he’s been repeating the mantra to every department of the company lately.

Here are the five goals, and some comments on what Bradbury had to say about each of them during our conversation:

No. 1. To boost revenue from its existing product, exenatide, for diabetes. Amylin shares tumbled last fall after the FDA warned physicians about the risk of pancreatitis … Next Page »

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  • Carl Chessman

    HAH! What a great spin on the same BS we’ve all heard before. Dan uses the very word: “execute”, which is in fact why Amylin has failed to join the ranks of profitable biotechs. Thirty plus VPs, numerous buildings only half-full or empty, bad and untimely hiring decisions and a myriad of other bad examples too numerous to mention here. Amylin has great drugs, a great location, great benefits, and even some pretty smart people, but VERY poor execution. Disclosure: I’m a former Amylin employee with 24 years industry experience, so I had a frame of reference that’s fairly realistic. For the sake of my fully-vested ESOP shares, I hope things work out, but if history is any lesson, they’ll find a way to screw it up (they ALWAYS do).

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/ltimmerman/ Luke Timmerman

    Thanks for the comment, Carl. I’ve heard a few war stories about bureaucracy at Amylin, so your comments are pretty consistent with things I’ve heard from other former employees. If you or other employees have other insights you’d like to share, you can always e-mail me at ltimmerman@xconomy.com. It definitely helps being prepared when interviewing the execs–Luke