Activist Investor Takes $1B Stake in BioMarin Amid CEO Change, Disappointing Sales

BioMarin_iStock, Sundry Photography

Pictured: BioMarin headquarters in California/iStock, Sundry Photography

Activist investor Elliott Investment Management has bought more than a $1 billion stake in BioMarin Pharmaceutical, according to an exclusive report from Reuters published Tuesday, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

Elliott has reportedly been in talks with BioMarin for months regarding the biotech’s future, though the exact nature of these discussions—including any potential changes the fund wants implemented—are still unclear.

BioMarin, a California-based biotech focused on rare and genetic diseases, has a market cap of over $14 billion, according to Seeking Alpha. The company traded around 8.5% higher Tuesday morning in response to the Reuters article.

Elliott’s $1 billion stake comes amid a leadership shake-up at BioMarin. Last week, the biotech announced that its chairman and CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaimé would be retiring on Dec. 1 and will be succeeded by Alexander Hardy, who will serve as president and chief executive. Hardy is currently the CEO of Genentech and will also sit on BioMarin’s board of directors.

Last week, BioMarin also posted third-quarter financial results reporting total revenue of $581.3 million, or 15% year-over-year growth. In the first nine months of 2023, BioMarin has so far made $1.77 billion, up 14% from the same period the prior year.

Much of this growth was driven by its achondroplasia therapy Voxzogo (vosoritide), which earned $123.1 million in the quarter, a 155% increase from the same period in 2022. Voxzogo was first granted accelerated approval in November 2021, allowing its use in children aged five years and above. It won a label expansion last month, which made the treatment available to even younger patients.

Voxzogo is the only FDA-approved therapy for achondroplasia in children.

Despite its strong overall third-quarter performance, BioMarin posted disappointing sales figures for its hemophilia A gene therapy Roctavian (valoctocogene roxaparvovec-rvox), which secured the FDA’s approval in June 2023. At the time, the company said that they were planning a $2.9-million wholesale acquisition cost for the one-time, single-dose therapy.

Roctavian is the first approved gene therapy for hemophilia A, but in the third quarter it made less than $1 million.

Previously, BioMarin projected it would make $100 million to $200 million from Roctavian in 2023. However, in April 2023 as part of its first-quarter earnings report, the company reduced its sales outlook to $50 million to $100 million.

In its most recent guidance, BioMarin is now only expecting Roctavian revenues of less than $10 million. The biotech also narrowed its full-year total revenue outlook from a range of $2.38 billion to $2.5 billion to $2.39 billion to $2.47 billion.

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. He can be reached at tristan@tristanmanalac.com or tristan.manalac@biospace.com.

Back to news