Activist hedge fund Sarissa Capital, which won a seat on Ariad Pharmaceuticals' board last year, is seeking to replace the company's chief executive and may mount a proxy fight in the next few weeks, according to a person familiar with the hedge fund's plans.
Sarissa is the largest shareholder of Ariad, with 6.9 percent of the stock, or about 12.9 million shares, according to FactSet. The hedge fund is run by Alex Denner, formerly Carl Icahn's head of biotech investing, and Richard Mulligan, a Harvard geneticist who worked with Denner and Icahn on several investments.
Sarissa has been agitating at Ariad since October 2013, when the drugmaker's stock plummeted over safety concerns with its cancer drug, Iclusig. Denner won a seat on the board in February 2014 and the right to add a second director to be agreed on with the company. Ariad and Sarissa haven't named that second board member.