Soros, others, cash out of Amarin ahead of new FDA delay

Some big name investors could care less if another FDA delay on whether to get a special designation to Amarin's ($AMRN) fish-oil therapy Vascepa may throw cold water on rumors that some of the big players are interested in buying the Irish drugmaker. They have already cashed out.

Ireland's Independent newspaper, citing filings, says a fund controlled by billionaire investor George Soros has already sold off the stake that it paid about $3.8 million for, as have some other investors. Amarin's shares, which were trading at $10.87, up just slightly midmorning, are down about 30% since it first got approval for heart drug Vascepa in July.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) or AstraZeneca ($AZN) have been rumored to be taking a look at Amarin, Reuters reports, although as FierceBiotech points out, takeover rumors have hung over Amarin before. Some in the industry doubt that the small company has the wherewithal to promote Vascepa to its fullest.

Vascepa, which uses fish oil to fight vein-clogging triglycerides, has been shown to be quite effective. But the FDA has repeatedly delayed its decision on whether to designate the drug a "new chemical entity," a finding that affects how long its patent protection would be in place. And that may have dampened some buyout enthusiasm. The Wall Street Journal points out that Amarin CEO Joseph Zakrzewski acknowledged as much during a recent earnings call with investors.

That is no matter to Soros or hedge fund manager Louis Bacon or investor Kingdom Capital, the Independent reports. Soros has liquidated his stake and the other two have cashed out big pieces of their investments, the newspaper reports, although the filings are not going to show how much each earned.

- read the Independent's story
- get more from The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)
- read FierceBiotech's take