Nabi, of Rockville, explores alternatives

The Baltimore Sun

Nabi Biopharmaceuticals of Rockville announced yesterday that it is exploring strategic alternatives that include selling or merging the company, and it named a new president and chief executive officer.

Raafat Fahim is the new CEO for Nabi, which has been reshaped during the past two months. Fahim joined Nabi in 2003 and has held several executive positions, most recently chief operating officer and general manager of the biologics unit.

That unit was sold in December to Biotest Pharmaceuticals Corp., a subsidiary of a German company, for $185 million. Biotest took over Nabi's Florida headquarters building, along with about 500 employees. Nabi moved its headquarters last month to Rockville, where it operated a lab with about 50 employees.

Fahim said the strategic review process, advised by Banc of America Securities, would seek "to maximize shareholder value." The company didn't provide a timeline for the review, beyond saying it was a "key corporate goal for this year."

Fahim replaces Leslie Hudson, a company director who has served as interim CEO for a year. Hudson stepped in when Thomas H. McLain resigned as CEO in February 2007.

Nabi's products in development include NicVAX, a vaccine for smoking cessation now in clinical trials. Nabi had said it was seeking a strategic partner to help bring NicVAX to market. It had also said it was seeking a partner for StaphVAX, a drug candidate in the preclinical stage that is designed to prevent infections.

Nabi has one product on the market, which it sold. PhosLo, used to reduce excess blood phosphorus, has potential for up to $75 million in royalty payments during the next decade, the company said.

Shares of Nabi fell 6 cents to close at $3.77 on the Nasdaq yesterday. The company announced its new CEO and strategic review after financial markets closed.

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