ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARIA) announced that it has reached an agreement to settle its current proxy contest with Sarissa Capital Management. In addition, ARIAD’s founder, Harvey J. Berger, M.D., has informed the Board of Directors of his decision to retire as chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) upon appointment of his successor or December 31, 2015, whichever is earlier. The Board has formed a CEO search committee chaired by Alex Denner of Sarissa Capital, which will work expeditiously to find a successor CEO.

In addition, under the terms of the settlement, ARIAD’s Board has appointed Anna Protopapas by filling an existing open director seat on the Board. Sarissa will withdraw its proposed slate of director nominees, which included Ms. Protopapas, for election at the 2015 Annual Meeting and has agreed to vote all of its shares in favor of the Board’s nominees.

“The Board believes this settlement is in the best interests of shareholders, as it allows us to focus on conducting the search for ARIAD’s next CEO while continuing to execute on our critical commercial and pipeline initiatives,” said Wayne Wilson, lead independent director of the Board. “We welcome Anna to the Board and look forward to working together constructively with Sarissa for the benefit of all shareholders.”

“I am excited to work with the board members to optimally position ARIAD as it embarks on its next stage of development. I believe ARIAD’s loyal and dedicated employees will be able to significantly increase the value of our assets, especially Iclusig and brigatinib, which both hold great promise for cancer patients,” said Alex Dennerof Sarissa Capital.

Ms. Protopapas is Chief Executive Officer of Mersana Therapeutics. She previously served as a member of the Executive Committee of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited and held various senior management positions, including President of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda, where she was responsible for leading Takeda’s oncology business, and Executive Vice President of Global Business Development, where she was responsible for global acquisitions, partnering, licensing and venture investing. Prior to serving on Takeda’s Executive Committee, Ms. Protopapas served on Millennium’s Executive Committee as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, where she led the company’s business development initiatives and led the process that resulted in the $8.8 billion sale of Millennium to Takeda. Ms. Protopapas received a B.S. in engineering from Princeton University, an M.S. in chemical engineering practice fromMassachusetts Institute of Technology and a MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. (Original Source)

Shares of Ariad closed yesterday at $8.87 . ARIA has a 1-year high of $9.89 and a 1-year low of $4.90. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $8.63 and its 200-day moving average is $7.17.

On the ratings front, Ariad has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on April 20, BMO analyst Jim Birchenough reiterated a Buy rating on ARIA, with a price target of $14, which represents a potential upside of 57.8% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on February 23, H.C. Wainwright’s Reni Benjamin reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $10.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Jim Birchenough and Reni Benjamin have a total average return of 51.2% and 2.8% respectively. Birchenough has a success rate of 75.5% and is ranked #6 out of 3581 analysts, while Benjamin has a success rate of 36.2% and is ranked #1502.

In total, 2 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and 2 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $8.87 which is 2.9% above where the stock closed yesterday.

ARIAD Pharmaceuticals Inc is an oncology company. The Company is engaged in transforming the lives of cancer patients with breakthrough medicines. It commercializes & develops products and product candidates including Iclusig, Brigatinib, and AP32788.