Biogen Idec is getting ready for another attempt by billionaire investor Carl Icahn to get more of his colleagues on the board.

The biotech major has announced that it has received notice from Icahn Partners “and certain of its affiliates” of their intention to nominate three people to Biogen’s board of directors at its 2010 annual meeting in June. There are four seats up for grabs and the company said it will “evaluate the nominees and the proposal and make a recommendation in the best interests of all shareholders”.

The move represents yet another bid for control by Mr Icahn, whose grouping owns 16.1 million Biogen shares, less than 6% of the company. In 2008, he launched an unsuccessful attempt to get three directors on the board, a year after he criticised the firm’s bosses for not looking hard enough to find a buyer and then taking down the ‘for sale’ sign at the end of 2007 when no definitive bids came in.

However last year, he was successful in getting two colleagues voted in by investors and as well as nominating three more this year, Mr Icahn also proposes to amend the company's bylaws to fix the number of directors at its current level of 12.

These are interesting times at Biogen and Mr Icahn’s move comes a few weeks after chief executive James Mullen, aged 51, announced his plans to retire from June, having headed up the firm for 21 years. He has come under criticism in some quarters, not just by Mr Icahn, for Biogen’s poor stock performance of late and questions are being asked as to whether the new man will look for acquisitions or a possible purchaser.

Previously, Mr Icahn has suggested that Biogen should be split in two, with one firm focusing on neurology and the other on cancer and autoimmune diseases.