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Alex Denner Joins Vivus Activist Slate in Post-Icahn Move

Alex Denner, the former head of health-care investments for billionaire Carl Icahn, joined the activist slate challenging drugmaker Vivus Inc. in the first move of his new fund, Sarissa Capital Management LP.

First Manhattan Co., which said it holds about 10 percent of Vivus shares outstanding, added Denner to its proposed slate to bring the total number of potential directors to nine, matching an expansion by Vivus of its board in the past month. Denner’s fund owns about 2 million shares, or 2 percent, of Vivus’s stock, First Manhattan said today in a statement.

First Manhattan has criticized Mountain View, California-based Vivus’s handling of its obesity drug Qsymia, which gained U.S. approval in July. Qsymia sales have lagged behind analysts’ estimates, coming in at...