Monday, October 12, 2009

Eastbourne sells stake in Amylin

Eastbourne Capital, one of the shareholders who waged a proxy contest over Amylin Pharmaceuticals earlier this year, has sold its entire stake in that company, according to an SEC filing.

There are twelve seats on the Amylin board. Five of them were up for grabs at the meeting in May. The dissidents won two of those five.

Amylin, a San Diego based pharma company (NASDAQ:AMLN), focuses on drugs for the treatment of diabetes and obesity.

Dissidents have expressed frustration with some of the deals Amylin's management has cut, especially a partnership with giant Eli Lilly.

The stock price was between $11 and $11.50 at the time of that annual meeting. It rose in subsequent weeks, getting as far as $15.50 in early August, though the price has lost some of those gains since. Even with the recent slide, the stock price has considerably outperformed the Nasdaq-100 index in recent months.

This news made me curious about the size of the market for diabetes treatments. A little googling discovered the abstract of a book on the subject, INNOVATIONS IN THE MANAGEMENT OF DIABETES published last year.

The abstract begins: "Diabetes has become the fifth leading cause of death across developed markets, and cases of the disease are forecast to grow by 7.1% across the globe by 2013. The market for innovative diabetes treatments will be driven by this projected rise in prevalence, together with the substantial unmet need for drugs that can effectively halt or reverse disease progression. Although extended lifecycle management for existing antidiabetic therapies may offer sales growth in the short term, the development of new drugs from novel classes will become increasingly important in the future."

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