Amylin Q1: "Icahn Doesn't Know Who Our CEO Is"

Last Updated Apr 20, 2009 12:31 PM EDT

Amylin filed a sarcastic letter describing phone conversations it had with angry investor Carl Ichan over the past few days. "Sarcastic," because the final point in the letter (which you can read here) is this:
Finally, on our call you asked, "Who is Dan Bradbury?" Dan Bradbury is Amylin's President and Chief Executive Officer. Dan has been our CEO since March 2007, serving as President since June 2006 and as Chief Operating Officer since June 2003.
It's an arch touch that suggests Icahn isn't as au fait with the company as he ought to be, considering he's locked in an increasingly entertaining battle for control of Amylin's board, along with Eastbourne Capital (see story ladder below for the backstory).

UPDATE: Icahn says the letter is a bunch of hooey that mischaracterizes the whole conversation.

Making Icahn look stupid wasn't the main point of Amylin's letter, of course (although doubtless that was the bit that had them chortling the most over at the San Diego HQ). The letter outlined Amylin's take on Icahn's intent in the boardroom fight: To sell Amylin to Eli Lilly, its partner on diabetes drug Byetta; and to cut a further 30 percent out of Amylin's costs.

The company said it didn't want to sell itself to Lilly (although such a sale would bail Icahn out of the losses he's made on his stock in the company). On the cost-cutting issue, Amylin said that after laying off 340 workers (25 percent of its force), it was wielding the ax just fine, thank you very much. The company doesn't want to cut any further because it is hoping to launch Byetta as a first line diabetes therapy and to launch a once-weekly version of the drug. Amylin also reported its Q1 2009 numbers today. They were OK: Revenue was $194 million, down from $197 million; its net loss was $47 million, down from a net loss of $71 million.

The numbers allow us to see whether Amylin really is becoming more efficient, as Icahn wants it to be and Amylin claims it already is: The revenue yield on its sales, marketing and admin per-dollar costs rose from $2 last year to $2.21 -- a nice bump.

But profit-sharing costs with Lilly on Byetta rose from $70 million to $73 million. Put another way, Amylin paid 35 percent of its revenues to Lilly this time last year but nearly 38 percent this quarter. So Lilly became more expensive than it used to be.

Side note: If you're a real drug-company-boardroom-control-fight geek, check out this discussion of the legal technicalities of the Icahn battle on an NYT blog.