Updated from 7:45 a.m. EDT
Carl Icahn's aggressive push to reshape the board of
is getting him what he wanted, and now he's been named chairman of the New York-based biotech company.
The billionaire investor, who has been waging a months-long battle to exert control over ImClone and its future, owns about 14% of the the cancer-drug maker's stock.
At the same time, Joseph Fischer has resigned as interim chief executive and as a member of the board, and he's been replaced by an executive committee. The committee will be led by Alex Denner and will include directors Richard Mulligan and Charles Woler. The group will serve as the principal executive body for ImClone until a CEO is named.
Icahn, who was only recently voted to the board, has been trying to unseat directors who don't agree with his plan for the company and replace them with his hand-picked representatives. Earlier this month, Icahn's agitations led to the resignation of David Kies as chairman and William Crouse as a director.
On Wednesday, Icahn said that his immediate priorities will be to investigate the reasons why the relationship between ImClone and
has "seriously deteriorated" over the past few years and to find a qualified CEO with biotechnology experience. Bristol helps ImClone market its only commercial product, Erbitux, a cancer treatment.
"Erbitux is an important drug, and action must be taken quickly to make up for the errors and inaction of the last three years," he said.
Shares of ImClone were adding 1% to $29.74 recently.
ImClone is no stranger to controversy. Despite its successes with Erbitux, its name will always be linked to the late 2001 insider trading scandal that ultimately led to jail time for former CEO Sam Waksal and his friend, the home and lifestyle expert Martha Stewart.
Fischer had been acting CEO since January. He took the post from Philip Frost, who himself had become interim chief in November after Daniel Lynch left the company.
Earlier this year, ImClone put itself up for sale, but eventually ended the effort. The company said it had a $36-a-share buyout proposal from a major pharmaceuticals firm, but that Icahn blocked the bid, saying it was inadequate. The bidder, rumored to be
, walked away. Sanofi later denied interest.
Separately, ImClone missed Wall Street's third-quarter revenue expectations but blew past the profit estimates from analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call. Revenue was $150.7 million, up 42% from $106.5 million in the year-ago period. However, analysts were expecting $162.3 million.
ImClone recorded royalties of $78.6 million, up from $46.6 million a year ago, including 39% of Bristol-Myers' $174.6 million in sales of Erbitux.
License fees and milestone revenue reached $34.9 million, compared with $27.1 million a year ago, and manufacturing revenue rose to $20.9 million from $10.7 million.
Overall, the company earned $57.3 million, or 65 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $31 million and 35 cents a share last year. Analysts were expecting earnings of 45 cents a share.