NEW YORK (AP) — One of Vivus Inc.’s biggest stockholders is asking shareholders to vote for its slate of board nominees, continuing its push for new leadership at the company.
Investment advisory firm First Manhattan Co., which holds 9.9 percent of Vivus’ outstanding stock, is looking for its nine nominees to replace the entire board of the obesity drugmaker. Vivus had expanded its board to nine members from seven last month.
In a letter sent to Vivus Inc. shareholders on Tuesday, First Manhattan said that it still believes Vivus’ stock is undervalued and that the company will never reach full value under its current board.
First Manhattan has criticized Vivus for the failed launch of weight loss drug Qsymia. The Food and Drug Administration approved Qsymia in July, and Vivus started selling the drug in September. It was the second long-term weight loss drug approved in the U.S. since 1999, but sales have not lived up to expectations. In part that’s because insurance coverage remains limited and out-of-pocket costs for patients are high. Qsymia also can’t be dispensed at pharmacies and is only available through mail order.
Vivus shareholders will vote on board members at the Mountain View, Calif., company’s annual meeting on July 15.
Shares of Vivus fell 46 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $14.64 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $9.86 in November to $31.21 in in July.