By Aisha Al-Muslim
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Tuesday it will work with hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. on filling an open board seat.
The move comes as the rare-disease drugmaker has been facing pressure from the activist investor, which has pushed for changes in recent years at companies including aluminum parts maker Arconic Inc. and Brocade Communication Systems, now part of Broadcom Ltd.
The agreement between the board and Elliott is part of efforts to "maintain active and constructive dialogue with all of our shareholders, " Alexion Board Chairman David Brennan said in prepared remarks.
The New York Times reported last month, citing two unnamed sources, that Elliott had built a stake in Alexion and urged the company to make changes to lift its stock price.
Alexion said in November that it was searching for a candidate to fill a seat on its board, which currently has 11 members.
The company and Elliott declined to comment Tuesday on the size of Elliott's stake in the firm.
The New Haven, Conn., drugmaker, founded in 1992, has had many management changes during the past year, including hiring Chief Executive Ludwig Hantson in March, after an internal investigation showed senior management pressured staff to persuade customers to order its flagship drug earlier than needed to meet financial targets.
The company's primary product is a rare blood-disease treatment named Soliris.
Under Mr. Hantson's leadership, much of the senior management team was replaced. Alexion in September said it was cutting its workforce by 20%, relocating its headquarters to Boston and closing sites as it works to reduce its overhead. The moves were expected to create $250 million in annual cost savings by 2019.
"We are encouraged by actions taken under Ludwig's leadership to improve financial performance and reset Alexion's strategy," an Elliott spokesperson said in prepared remarks.
Shares in Alexion, down nearly 12% in the past three months, were unchanged at $124.05 in after-hours trading Tuesday. Alexion had a stock market value of $27.71 billion as of market close.
Write to Aisha Al-Muslim at [email protected]