Amarin (AMRN) is a mid-cap biopharma company, headquartered in Dublin. Amarin’s headline product is VASCEPA, a cardiovascular disease drug. On September 22nd, the Bedrock algorithms flagged that AMRN was slashing their sales force, costing them about $15M in severance (~2% of annual revenues). This information was disclosed in Amarin’s 8-K, a form where companies disclose material information.
My thought was “that’s not a good sign”. Usually sales people get fired because they are not succeeding at selling the product. I turned to the stock chart, fintwit and SeekingAlpha to see what other people were thinking. It looked like this:
Companies often put out a press release ahead of or around the same time they put out an 8-K. Press releases aren’t required disclosure and don’t have to be filed with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). In Amarin’s case, the September 22nd press release described the event as a new go-to-market strategy which would focus on “expanding healthcare professional engagement through a new omnichannel platform, enhancing managed care access and optimizing VASCEPA prescriptions for cardiovascular (CV) risk reduction”.
The press release leans heavily on words like “omnichannel”, “integrated” and “transformation”, pushes the news about the reduction in force to the bottom and fails to mention the associated cost. It succeeds in making the reduction to the sales force sound like a good thing and the market bought it, at least for the day.
The Amarin press release vs. 8-K comparison is a great example of why it pays to read securities filings. 8-Ks, in particular, often offer a less adulterated version of the underlying story.
You can find unusual 8-Ks by following @BotLedge on Twitter, our free 8-K bot or via the Ledge homepage. Our developers are hard at work, developing an update to our 8-K algorithms! Stay tuned for more.