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Amarin Slumps as CEO Plans to Retire in August

Amarin traded lower after president and CEO John Thero's retirement was viewed as a setback to sign new merger and acquisition deals by a Jefferies analyst.

Shares of Amarin  (AMRN) - Get Amarin Corporation plc Report fell sharply Tuesday after the drugmaker announced president and chief executive John Thero plans to retire in August. A Wall Street analyst said that Thero's retirement will make it harder for Amarin to forge alliances in the short term.

Amarin's senior vice president and head of commercial for Europe, Karim Mikhail will succeed Thero, the company said.

American Depository Receipts of the Dublin company fell 11.4% to $5.17 at last check.

"The transition makes a takeover in the near term less likely and brings uncertainty for investors," said Jefferies analyst Michael Yee in a note.

"M&A was the bull case for the stock, most likely Amarin will go forward with a 3Q launch of its heart drug in the EU," Yee wrote.

Jefferies has a hold rating on the stock with a price target of $7.

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Under Thero's leadership, Amarin was able to launch its cardiovascular-disease treatment Vascepa in the U.S and initiate plans for expansion internationally.

“While announcing my retirement is a bittersweet moment for me, I have every confidence in Amarin and its outstanding employees who are dedicated to the patients and shareholders we serve,” Thero said in a statement.

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"2021 is a pivotal year for Amarin as we continue to develop markets for our important drug, Vascepa. As the first-and-only drug approved by each of the U.S. FDA, European Commission, and Health Canada for treatment of the studied high-risk patients with persistent cardiovascular risk after statin therapy, we are proud of our role in ushering in a new era in cardiovascular care," Thero added.

Mikhail said he was honored to take on the new role. "We have an unparalleled product with outstanding evidence, positive efficacy and safety profile, and tremendous momentum with our near-term European launch plans and expected commercial approval in China near the end of 2021," he added in a statement.

Piper Sandler analyst Yasmeen Rahimi pointed out that “Mikhail’s strong commercial track record with his experience leading Merck’s $4B lipid franchise and many commercial launches will put Amarin on the path to transforming cardiovascular health in global market opportunities,” Rahimi wrote in a note.

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