There has been a lot of intrigue lately involving Amylin Pharmaceuticals, one of San Diego biotech’s highest flyers earlier this decade, but in recent years a victim of bad luck and a bad economy.

Last week, Xconomy reported that famed corporate raider Carl Icahn had bought an 8 percent stake in the company, which is among San Diego’s largest biotechs. Icahn, who over the past 30 years has made takeover bids of some of corporate America’s biggest names (including TWA and Texaco), has in recent years focused on the pharmaceutical industry.

Then, on Monday, Eastbourne Capital Management, which owns 12.5 percent of Amylin stock, announced a push to a shake-up of the company’s board of directors. According to Xconomy, Eastbourne believes that “significant change at the board level is required” to turn Amylin around.

The company’s stock price more than doubled between early 2005 and mid 2006 on the strength of its diabetes drug Byetta, which was developed from the saliva of a Gila monster. But in 2007, the company was rocked by warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about pancreas problems related to the drug. Amylin’s stock has since plummeted (closing today at $11.93), and in November it laid off 340 people, a quarter of its staff.


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