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Management Changes at Optimer Pharma

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Optimer Pharmaceuticals recently announced major changes in its management team. The company announced that Mr. Hank McKinnell will be the new chairman of the company. He was appointed following the removal of Mr. Michael Chang from the post. Dr. Hank McKinnell is already serving as the lead independent director- a post to which he was appointed at the board meeting of Optimer Pharma held on February 29, 2012. He was the former chairman and CEO of  Pfizer Inc. (PFE - Free Report) .

Apart from firing Mr. Chang, Optimer Pharma also sacked Mr. John D. Prunty and Dr. Youe-Kong Shue from the positions of chief financial officer (CFO) and vice president, respectively. Mr. Kurt Hartman, currently serving as the general counsel, chief compliance officer and senior vice president, has been appointed as the new CFO- albeit on a temporary basis.  Optimer Pharma is currently on the lookout for a permanent CFO.

Mr. Chang, whose resignation from the Board of Directors has also been sought, was removed following inappropriate actions relating to corporate governance in his capacity as Optimer Pharma’s representative on the Board of Optimer Biotechnology Inc. - the 43% owned independent affiliate of the parent company. Dr. McKinnell will replace Mr. Chang as Optimer Pharma’s representative on Optimer Biotechnology’s Board, once the latter tenders his resignation from the post. Mr. Prunty and Dr. Shue were also removed due to lapses regarding corporate governance.

Optimer Pharma informed the relevant US authorities about the matter, who are currently reviewing it. The drastic changes had a negative impact on the stock price. The changes are, however, not expected to impact Optimer Pharma’s results. 

In a separate development, Optimer Pharma, which intends to announce its first quarter 2012 results on May 3, stated that gross revenues for the quarter are expected to be approximately $16.45 million, up 36% sequentially.

Neutral on Optimer

Currently, we have a Neutral stance on Optimer Pharma in the long run. The company carries a Zacks #3 Rank (“Hold” rating) in the short run.

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