Key shareholder opposes sale of Astex Pharmaceuticals

|By:, SA News Editor

Activist shareholder Sarissa Capital opposes Otsuka Holdings' (OTSKF.OB) $886M bid for Astex Pharmaceuticals (ASTX), saying the $8.50-a-share offer is too low, although the U.S. biotech firm disagrees.

Sarissa, founded by former Carl Icahn associate Alex Denner, has also raised questions about the timing of the auction for Astex. The process came ahead of the release of key data for cancer drug SGI110, which is expected in December.

Sarissa is contacting potential bidders that the firm believes were left out the bidding process. Astex counters that it reached out to 33 companies but only Japan-based Otsuka made a final bid.

Astex letter to shareholders.