Updated from 5:32 a.m. ESTBiotechnology company Elan ( ELN) has hired an adviser to review alternatives, including a minority investment, an alliance, or a merger or sale of the company. Elan, Ireland's biggest drugmaker, said Tuesday that Citigroup Global Markets will conduct the review with a goal to "secure access to the necessary financial resources and commercial infrastructure" to allow the company to speed development and commercialization of its pipeline and product portfolio while building long-term value for its shareholders. "Given our many scientific, clinical and commercial opportunities and the capabilities of the industry participants that surround us, the board of directors has determined that this is an appropriate time for the board to explore potential alternative paths forward for the company," said Chairman Kyran McLaughlin in a statement. Elan is the co-marketer of multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri with Biogen Idec ( BIIB - Get Report). Shareholders have blasted Elan's CEO Kelly Martin because of weak sales of Tysabri and what they believe is mismanagement at the drugmaker. The stock fell more than 70% in 2008 but rose last week amid speculation it was a takeover target of Pfizer ( PFE - Get Report). Martin said the company wasn't in talks to sell itself to the U.S. drug giant. Elan currently has $1.7 billion in debt, with just more than $1 billion of that due in 2011, which could complicate efforts to find a merger partner. The company is not yet profitable. Elan shares closed Monday at $8.03 and were around $9 in early trading Tuesday.
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