Vivus Inc. (VVUS) appointed two additional directors, increasing the size of its board by 50 percent in less than a month amid pressure from shareholders over the company’s strategy for promoting its obesity drug Qsymia.
J. Martin Carroll and Jorge Plutzky joined the board, the Mountain View, California-based drugmaker said in a statement today. On April 30, the company said it appointed Robert N. Wilson. The additions bring the size of Vivus’s board to nine.
First Manhattan Co., the largest holder of Vivus stock with more than 9 percent, has criticized the company’s handling of Qsymia and proposed a slate of six directors. Last year QVT Financial LP, the third-largest holder of Vivus stock, advocated a sale of the company.
“We strongly believe that a near-complete turnover of the board at this time would significantly jeopardize the progress we are making toward our strategic objectives and is not in the best interest of stockholders,” Vivus Chief Executive Officer Leland Wilson wrote in a letter to shareholders today. “We intend to vigorously oppose First Manhattan’s hostile solicitation.”
Vivus rose less 4.2 percent to $13.50 at the close in New York. The shares have declined 53 percent since Qsymia was approved in July by U.S. regulators.
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