Forest finds itself in Icahn's hot seat

Carl Icahn has painted a bulls eye on yet another drugmaker. This time, it's Forest Laboratories ($FRX), the U.S. drugmaker whose biggest drug--the antidepressant Lexapro--falls off the patent cliff early next year. In its disclosure of Icahn's move, Forest announced that a fund affiliated with the activist investor has accumulated 6.5 percent of the drugmaker's shares.

We don't know what changes Icahn wants at Forest at this point--and neither does the company. "While we have not yet had a chance to meet with Mr. Icahn to discuss his ideas for the company, we welcome constructive input from all of our shareholders," Forest CEO Howard Solomon said in a statement (as quoted by Reuters).

It should be noted that Solomon faces exclusion from doing business with the federal government, which would make Forest ineligible to sell products to Medicare and the Veterans Administration, among other programs--as long as he remains CEO, that is. The Department of Health and Human Services moved against him in April, and Solomon immediately announced plans to take legal action against the agency, with Forest's backing.

Icahn's High River Partners has proposed four directors for Forest's nine-member board, three of them veterans of previous forays against biopharma companies. First, there's Icahn Partners Managing Director Alexander Denner, who won election to the boards of Biogen Idec and Amylin Pharmaceuticals in earlier Icahn-led proxy fights.

Then there's Eric Ende, who moved onto the board of Genzyme during Icahn's proxy battle with the company, which recently sold to the French drugmaker Sanofi. Richard Mulligan, a Harvard professor and Icahn-backed director at Biogen Idec, is also nominated for Forest's board. Finally, there's Harvard Law prof Lucian Bebchuk, a corporate governance expert nominated to Yahoo!'s board back in 2008 when Icahn moved against that company. 

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