Alexion Board Rejects Stakeholder Recommendation to Sell the Company


Shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals have jumped nearly 5% after the company’s board of directors rejected a push for a sale of the company from one of its largest stakeholders, U.K.-based Elliott Advisors, Ltd.

In a statement this morning, the board said it listened to the point of view of the hedge fund, which included the call for a sale of the company. However, the board said it rejected that recommendation as it would “not be in the best interest of shareholders and the patients” the company serves. The board said it wanted to be transparent and decided to release a statement about its decision.

“The board and management team are focused on delivering long-term shareholder value by advancing our mission of developing and delivering transformative medicines for people with rare diseases,” the board of directors said in its statement.

Alexion has been the subject of takeover rumors in the past few months. Most recently, there were thoughts that California-based Amgen might pony up the funds to acquire the company at $200 per share. But, that went away after Amgen acquired the rights to Otezla from Bristol-Myers Squibb for $13.4 billion.

In rejecting the recommendation for a sale, the board of directors pointed to several accomplishments the company has made over the past few years, including a redefinition of the company’s strategy by moving into new disease areas such as neurology and diversifying the company’s portfolio. The board also pointed to a number of developmental deals the company has struck as well. Recently, Alexion deepened its immune-related disease pipeline with the $930 million acquisition of Achillion. That deal came hard on the heels of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Soliris (eculizumab) as a treatment for neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) in adults that express a specific biomarker. In October, Alexion and Stealth Biotherapeutics forged an agreement to advance the development of elamipretide as a potential first-in-class therapy for primary mitochondrial myopathy, which is a rare genetic mitochondrial disease with no treatments currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Also, in October, the company won approval for Ultomiris (ravulizumab-cwvz) for the treatment of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome.

“We are not done. We believe significant potential value growth lies ahead for Alexion and our shareholders,” the board said.

Looking to the future, the company anticipated driving growth through three key priorities -- facilitated conversion to Ultomiris, expansion of the company’s current assets into new diseases, and further diversification of its portfolio. The board noted that its “rebuilt and expanded pipeline” includes 22 clinical-stage development programs planned across 11 assets. That pipeline has the potential to deliver at least 10 additional launches by 2023, the board added.


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