Why Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Shares Vaulted Higher

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Ariad Pharmaceuticals , a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies to treat cancer, vaulted higher by as much as 16% after a report from Reuters noted that Ariad's second-largest shareholder was seeking two board seats.

So what: According to the report, Sarissa Capital Management, which is Ariad's second-largest shareholder with a 6.2% stake in the company, is seeking at least two seats on the company's board of directors. Ariad's board is made up of eight members, of which three are due for reelection in June, however nominations must be received by Feb. 20. Neither Sarissa Capital nor Ariad provided a comment to Reuters concerning the matter.


Now what: Today's hype is really about the potential for an activist investors to step in and do what's needed to improve shareholder value. Sarissa Capital Management is run by Alex Denner, who at one time was Carl Icahn's right-hand man when it came to health-care investments, so he understands a thing or two about being an activist investor and unlocking shareholder value. Despite the news, I would take today's gains with a grain of salt as the company's only FDA-approved drug Iclusig has a long road of recovery left ahead of it after a worrisome two-year follow-up safety study, and is currently only a last resort treatment for patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Ariad has roared out of the gate this year, but it'll probably be hard-pressed to keep up with this top stock in 2014
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The article Why Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Shares Vaulted Higher originally appeared on Fool.com.

Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. The Motley Fool has no position in any companies mentioned in this article. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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