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AMAG Pharmaceuticals to sell 2 women's health drugs, replaces CEO

AMAG Pharmaceuticals Inc. is divesting two women's health therapies, Intrarosa and Vyleesi, after being pressured by activist investor Caligan Partners LP to separate the low-selling drugs.

Additionally, AMAG President and CEO William Heiden will step down. Heiden will retain his responsibilities until a successor is appointed, the company said.

CFO Ted Myles will undertake COO responsibilities, effective immediately. In addition to being general counsel, Joseph Vittiglio will assume the role of chief business officer.

Through the divestment, expenses related to Vyleesi and Intrarosa will be reduced, Myles said. The company will also be able to focus on the development of its core product, Feraheme, which treats patients with iron deficiency anemia.

Intrarosa is intended for treating vulvar and vaginal atrophy — the inflammation, dryness and thinning of the vaginal wall — in postmenopausal women.

Vyleesi, an injectable drug for treating generalized hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or lack of sexual desire, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June 2019.

Waltham, Mass.-based AMAG said it received preliminary interest from companies to acquire or sublicense the rights to the drugs.

Caligan Partners, a New York-based investor firm, disclosed in August 2019 that it holds a 10.3% stake, or 3,499,428 common shares, in AMAG Pharmaceuticals. The activist investor had been pushing for changes in AMAG, including hiving off its women's health products.

In October 2019, an FDA panel determined in a 9-7 vote that AMAG's other women's health medicine, Makena — used to reduce the risk of preterm delivery — should be withdrawn from the market, citing lack of data.

"The uncertainty around the long-term durability of Makena revenues makes it challenging to invest in both our promising pipeline and in the physician and consumer marketing required to support these two products," Heiden said in a Jan. 9 statement.

Goldman Sachs and Co. LLC is the financial adviser to AMAG Pharmaceuticals in the divestment.