Activist investor Alex Denner has made the rumors official: He wants Ariad Pharmaceuticals CEO Harvey Berger out, and he's willing to mount a proxy fight to get his way.
Embattled biotech Ariad Pharmaceuticals has signed a deal with Japan's Otsuka to trade the Asian rights to its top cancer drug in exchange for $77.5 million and the promise of more down the line.
Bellicum Pharmaceuticals has switched up its deal with Ariad Pharmaceuticals, agreeing to hand over $50 million for a no-strings-attached license to some cell-signaling technology.
Back in 2010, Ariad Pharmaceuticals' ridaforolimus was a promising cancer therapy worth up to $700 million in the eyes of Merck. Now, in light of an FDA rejection and some dimming development prospects, Merck has quietly washed its hands of the drug, handing it back to its former partner.
Ariad Pharmaceuticals has appointed a former Carl Icahn acolyte to its board of directors, giving in to the activist investor after downing a poison pill to fend off any hostile advances. Now, amid some loosely founded chatter about its M&A potential, the bruised biotech could be in for another shakeup.
Market rumors about a possible biotech buyout are usually triggered by research and marketing success. In Ariad's case, mere survival sufficed.
Last year, Ariad Pharmaceuticals watched more than $2.5 billion melt off its market cap when the cancer-fighting Iclusig began a downward spiral that would eventually remove it from the market. But now begins the rebuilding project, as the Cambridge, MA, drugmaker has relaunched its sole product with a lot of ground to make up.
Losing more than $2.5 billion in market value didn't kill Ariad Pharmaceuticals, and now the biotech is set to relaunch the once-spurned cancer drug Iclusig in the U.S. as the FDA has approved a new label and indication for the company's only product.
Ariad Pharmaceuticals seemed to dodge a bullet last month when the European Medicines Agency chose not to follow its U.S. counterpart, letting the troubled Iclusig stay on the market. Now, the regulator is reopening the books on Ariad's cancer drug, reviving concerns about the company's sole product and sending its shares down about 10%.
Ariad Pharmaceuticals is letting go of nearly half its U.S. staff just a week after pulling its leukemia drug Iclusig from the market at the FDA's request, an unsurprising next step in what has been a monthlong downward spiral for the Massachusetts biotech.