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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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August 16, 2011

Is Carl Icahn Going Away?

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Posted by Derek

The latest regulatory filings show that Carl Icahn appears to have sold his Biogen position out completely as of the end of June, although he had still held over 8 million shares a week or so earlier. And he also appears to own no Amgen at present, and has sold out of Regeneron.

We last discussed Icahn's biopharma investments here, but it looks as if he's exiting the sector. And while I can't say that I'll miss him, it's perhaps food for thought if he's finding no positions worth taking over here, either. . .

Comments (11) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. Former Biogen Dude on August 16, 2011 9:06 AM writes...

Having driven up Biogen stock's price through nothing more than rattling of the cages & rhetoric about sale of the company, he's cashed out at $100+ per share and now dancing on to his next target.

Biogen is left poorer, although perhaps now they'll discover that they need small molecule drug research after all. Too bad that Carl's meddling pretty much destroyed the group's capability & moral.

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2. johnnyboy on August 16, 2011 9:20 AM writes...

Lots of apocalyptic talk at the moment about investment money leaving biotech 'en masse'. Sounds to me like the usual wall street panicking lemmings behavior - I bought a fair bit of cheap stocks last week. Well, they looked cheap, anyway. We'll see in a few months whether I was a genius or an idiot (fine line between the two, when it comes to investing).

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3. Former Biogen Dude on August 16, 2011 9:24 AM writes...

Let's not forget that Carl still is waging a proxy battle with Forrest Labs.

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4. NH_chem on August 16, 2011 10:19 AM writes...

Certainly he did not help moral at Biogen. Still a good company but the employees used to be more productive and happier before he came into the picture. I agree that Biogen needs to do more small molecule work but biotechs look down on chemistry often.

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5. pete on August 16, 2011 10:55 AM writes...

I wouldn't claim to understand the mind of Carl Icahn but consider that, these days, predicting winners among Biotech investments is far, Far, FAR more of a crap shoot than it was in the good ole' days.

Back then, investors would play large stacks of other people's money on little more than an intriguing Bio-headline. Nowadays, even the best of Biotechs have to run a very long, multi-faceted gauntlet to make good.

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6. Pharmasubstance on August 16, 2011 11:42 AM writes...

People are wise to biotech/pharma BS, not implying that the field is totally fraudulent, but a lot of it is/was. Anyone that's been on the inside of the industry for a while can't deny how much of it was nothing more than "let's try and cash out by blinding them with science", at all levels.

In the end it's a good thing, it will never go away, but it's being forced to reinvent and return with more substance than hype. Unfortunately, it may not employ as many as it did in the past.

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7. cynical1 on August 16, 2011 12:48 PM writes...

Maybe he doesn't think that dimethyl fumarate is the wonder drug that Biogen does?

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8. Kevin on August 16, 2011 2:05 PM writes...

Maybe he'll be so satisfied with his recent windfall from the Google/Motorola deal that he'll not be as much of an 'activist' in the near future. According to yesterday's WSJ: "Icahn would not discuss the potential returns on his investment in Motorola, but he did say that he was pleased with the outcome."

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9. Anonymous on August 17, 2011 2:04 PM writes...

I'm sorry Carl Icahn increased shareholder returns? His strategy seems to find midcap biotech firms that are undervalued through management incompetence, and to be honest, there aren't many left. I would suspect he'll be back once there are opportunities in his niche.

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10. HelicalZz on August 17, 2011 2:48 PM writes...

While I would hate to be directly exposed / involved with Mr. Icahn, I take solace as an investor that there is someone like him out there that will jump in where mis- or poor management seems to be at the helm. His is a shorter term view that I would care for him to take, but his presence is still important for investors in the industry overall in my opinion. More 'crash and burn' or just 'forever burn' stories do no favors for the next IPO effort.

For those who care to lament his practices, well, this is what being a public company is about i.e. a responsibility to those from whom you have raised capital. The CEO of a public company's job is first and foremost to shepard the interest of shareholders. Public funding isn't an open ended grant, and if you treat is as such, then activist investors will be there to remind of the true responsibilities. No one makes a company go public after all.


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11. Hap on August 18, 2011 10:07 AM writes...

If the choice is between hoping for VC and angel investors to shepherd your company to profitability or to solicit public investment and shipwreck your company ("we know you're a drug company, but you'd make more money if you just stopped discovering drugs."), well, there'll not be a whole lot of people signing up to bring new ideas to market.

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