Maybe Amylin Pharmaceuticals isn't so bad off after all. With Carl Icahn boosting his stake in the company and Byetta sales reversing their downward slide, industry observers are taking another look at the embattled company.
Byetta's fourth quarter sales are still down 9 percent year-over-year, but the diabetes med boosted scrips by 3.9 percent during the first week of this month, IMS Health data shows. As you know, Byetta has been beset by doubts since August, when the FDA flagged cases of pancreatitis in patients who used the drug, including six deaths. There's no proof that Byetta caused the problem, but scrips numbers deteriorated anyway. Until now.
And as Byetta sales are ticking upward, Carl Icahn has been snapping up Amylin stock. At less than $7 a share these days, it's a lot cheaper than it was just three months ago, when it was trading at almost $30. Just since June 30, Icahn has added some 4 million shares to his Amylin stake, bringing it to a total of 10.7 million.
Other investors are apparently following along: Amylin was up 8 percent Monday to $6.91.