Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARIA) has been facing a lot of troubles due to its cancer drug, Iclusig. The CEO of Ariad, Harvey J. Berger, has been trying to deal with these problems and keep the company stock aloft. The drug has been around since 2012 and was seen as a personal accomplishment by Mr. Berger. Unfortunately, just after a few months the company has had to pull the drug after FDA expressed concerns of toxic side-effects. The drug, however, has been recently granted a permit to be sold in Canada.
Mr. Berger has been with Ariad for nearly two decades, during which he was able to build the company on a strong footing, steer its drugs through R&D and get approval for Iclusig. Since the drug was withdrawn on the orders of the FDA, the company has had to face a number of setbacks. It is reported that around 160 workers were laid off and the new Kendall Square HQ has been put on hold. The company has, however, been able to negotiate the return of the drug, but to a narrower population.
Due to these setbacks, the company has been facing pressure, from a Connecticut Hedge Fund, which holds the majority of shares in the company, to ouster Mr. Berger. The Ariad management, however, has tried to counter by efforts to broaden the patient population for the drug. Additionally, the management is also planning to release a drug for lung cancer. The new plans are expected to make the company profitable by 2018, but with Mr. Berger still at the helm.
In a recent interview, Mr. Berger called for stability in the company to carry out current plans in a proper way. He also said that his company puts the patients first and the shareholders will need to overlook the profits for the time being, so success can be achieved.
Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARIA) closed at $9.27, gaining 2.54% on April 21. The company has 187.29 million shares being traded in the market, with a 52-week range of $4.90-$9.46.