Could Amylin Pharma Hit The Block?

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Eastbourne Capital, which owned a 12.5-percent stake in Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc (AMLN.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) as of late August, said on Monday it intends to hold discussions on ways to improve shareholder value, including the possible sale of the biotechnology company.

Officials at San Diego-based Amylin did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Shares of Amylin, which rose 4.8 percent in regular trading, rose another 3.5 percent following the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing by Eastbourne.

But the stock has fallen about 68 percent since mid-August after Amylin said its flagship Byetta diabetes drug had been linked with six deaths from pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas.

Data on late-October prescriptions show that demand for Byetta continues to fall to its lowest levels since early 2007, Piper Jaffray analyst Thomas Wei said in a research note on Monday.

But he rated the stock as “buy” with a 12-month price target of $56, noting that “it remains unclear if media dissemination of what we regard as misleading headlines on pancreatitis risk will have a long-term negative impact on the company’s new sales effort to expand Byetta Rx.”

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn said in mid-September that he had raised his stake in Amylin to 7.33 percent.

Amylin’s shares, which closed at $10.70 on Nasdaq, moved higher to $11.07 after hours. (Reporting by Deena Beasley; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)