Carl Icahn is trying to engineer a sale of Amylin Pharmaceuticals to pharma giant Eli Lilly and Co., according to a report today by Reuters. Lilly is already partnering with Amylin on its diabetes drug Byetta.

Icahn, who owns 8 percent of the San Diego-based biotech’s stock, launched a proxy battle in late January to shake up the company’s board of directors. And last week he urged the company to oust board chairman Joseph Cook.

Icahn is one of two large shareholders trying to shake up the company’s board. The other is Eastbourne Capital Management, which owns 12.5 percent of Amylin’s shares.

Icahn’s desire for Lilly to acquire Amylin came out in a letter to Icahn written by the company’s lead independent director James Wilson, which was made public in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the Reuters report. Here is a snippet from the letter as reported by Reuters:

“You informed us that you intend to leverage your relationship with our partner Lilly to promptly attempt to sell Amylin to Lilly. We believe that your desire to sell Amylin is inconsistent with what you have said previously and we continue to believe that this is not the time to consider such an action.”

Amylin would not comment publicly on the letter.


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