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Sarissa Capital Management has initiated efforts to call a special meeting at Amarin Corp. with the aim of refreshing the drugmaker’s board with its own nominees. The company’s market value has fallen by nearly two-thirds this year.
Sarissa, Amarin’s biggest shareholder with a 6% stake, said on Tuesday that it has commenced the process to call a special meeting to remove and replace “certain” Amarin directors. The move follows months of unfruitful talks about obtaining board representation, Sarissa complained.
The activist cited a 64% plunge in Amarin’s share price since the start of the year as chief among its concerns. Since the annual meeting in late June, the stock has fallen 38%, the investor added. At that meeting, nearly half of shareholder votes for directors up for reelection, which included those in leadership roles, were “against” or “abstentions,” Sarissa noted.
“We fear that the continued mismanagement of the business will result in further permanent destruction of shareholder value,” said Sarissa, adding that the “current trajectory risks the company running out of cash and will result in the need to raise capital at a terrible valuation.”
In response, Amarin highlighted several recent board changes, including the appointment of a new chairman and two director departures. The company said it was in contact with Sarissa about its board refreshment and suggested new independent directors are to be announced soon.
Sarissa did not say how many Amarin board seats it will target but suggested one could be reserved for its own Chief Investment Officer Alexander Denner, who gained his experience in proxy fights as the head of Carl Icahn’s healthcare investments.
Amarin shares climbed 1.7% Tuesday to $1.2 each. They were trading above $5 apiece 12 months ago.