El-Hibri Fuad Blog

Archive for December 2009

Marie-José Daoud

Awarded the Ernst and Young prize for Entrepreneur of the year 2009 in the Technology category for the Greater Washington region last June, Fuad El-Hibri is the CEO of Emergent Biosolutions, an American company that supplies the anthrax vaccine to the American government. He is in line for the national E&Y 2009 prize, which will be awarded on November 14 in California
He is a tall, imposing and smiling man. He has the assurance of those who are proud of their career and the modesty of those who attribute their success to the staff around them. He has just won the Ernst and Young prize for Entrepreneur of the year 2009 in the Technology category for the Greater Washington region. This prize rewards over 15 years in the biopharmaceutical industry, ten of which have been dedicated to Emergent Biosolutions, the company that supplies the only anthrax vaccine approved by the American government’s powerful Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Fuad El-Hibri landed in biopharmaceuticals somewhat by chance and somewhat by interest. He defines himself as “an entrepreneur in spirit” and, before dedicating himself to biopharmaceuticals, he had already created and sold various telecommunications companies in Russia, Venezuela and El Salvador. In the early 90s, this German native, born to a Lebanese father and a German mother, and who had spent time in the banking industry (Citibank) and consultant (BoozAllen & Hamilton), joins Porton Product, a biotechnology company located in the United Kingdom. There he plays a predominant role in marketing and sales of biodefense vaccines to foreign governments. Hibri is, in particular, a key man behind the purchase by Saudi Arabia of anthrax vaccines during the first Gulf war. This is where he maintains he gained his insight into the magnitude of the need for medical solutions to combat bioterrorism. In 1994, he organized the buy-back of Porton Products by its managers, before reselling his shares in 1996 (the price is not known).

In 1998, an opportunity opened up for him to buy BioThrax in competitive bidding, the only anti-anthrax vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration, until then owned by the State of Michigan. So he creates BioPort, obtains American nationality . in 1999, wins the bidding (approximately 24 million dollars) and finds himself at the head of a company with 170 employees, and develops a product: BioThrax.

Hibri has in fact the advantage of a monopoly situation since he is the only supplier of the American government who buys millions of doses of BioThrax per year from him to vaccinate its servicemen and to maintain a stock in case of bioterrorist attack. A situation which fuels all the controversies, as proved by the frenzied comments posted on the Internet.

Once BioPort is consolidated, and to diversify his portfolio, Hibri buys several biotechnology companies. In 2003, BioPort buys Antex, an American company working on the development of a vaccine against chlamydia. In 2005, the company, which in the meantime has become Emergent Biosolutions, acquired Microscience, an English company which had invested in research on hepatitis B and typhoid. In 2006, it purchased VIVACS, a German company specialized in research on the influenza vaccine. In 2008, it does a joint venture with Oxford University (among others) to develop a vaccine against tuberculosis.

Today, Emergent is at the head of a developing portfolio of vaccines and treatments against seven diseases which could bring in “hundreds of millions of dollars per year” when the products are on the market, according to Hibri. Four of these should be on the market within four to seven years. Most of these products have the specific feature of only requiring two technologies that the company has: a technology for vaccines given orally and another for vaccines administered by injection. “Which leads to major synergies enabling substantial cost savings to be made,” explains Hibri. But Emergent is in direct competition with large pharmaceutical laboratories such as Sanofi, Novartis and Roche on the development of these treatments and vaccines, of more commercial use than BioThrax. Furthermore, even with anthrax, Emergent will probably have to face competition from other biotechnology laboratories, like PharmAthene and Cangene, who are currently in the development phase of vaccines and treatment against the bacterium. In the meantime, to meet increasing demand from the American government, and that of other foreign governments who fill out its client portfolio, Emergent has recently invested in its BioThrax production capacity: it has gone from a capacity of three million doses per year to eight million and is currently validating a new factory in Michigan which can produce up to 40 million doses per year.

Today, eleven years after acquiring BioThrax, the latter, still provides the bulk of the company’s turnover (178.6 million dollars in 2008), the other part coming from development contracts with the government and revenue granted by public or private funds.


Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis.

Anthrax most commonly occurs in wild and domestic animals but it can also occur in humans when they are exposed to infected animals or tissue from infected animals.

The disease is transmitted by spores, or contaminated hide, but not from human to human. Cultivation of the bacterium and spores are relatively easy in a laboratory, which makes it an ideal biological weapon.

The company has 600 employees and has been quoted on the New York stock exchange since 2006, with a capitalization of 500 million dollars. Hibri, his family and his management staff keep control of the company with over half of the capital. Emergent has a presence in the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, China and Germany. And for seven years, between 2000 and 2007, it has experienced uninterrupted growth.

This is partially why the E&Y prize was awarded to Hibri. Other criteria were also taken into account: his ability to inspire his staff, who, he himself acknowledges are “dedicated and motivated”; and his philanthropic involvement in numerous charity organizations, among which the El-Hibri Charitable Foundation, created by his father, that among other things finances the Dar Al-Aytam orphanage in Lebanon.



by Nick Rees on December 8, 2009

Fuad El-Hibri

The Office of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has advised Emergent BioSolutions that while BARDA’s Request for Proposal has been canceled, Emergent is encouraged to submit a proposal for the office’s Broad Agency Announcement.

BARDA canceled the RFP for the procurement for rPA vaccines after a technical evaluation panel determined that no proposals submitted by vaccine developers could meet the ProjectBioShield statutory requirement of having the product ready for licensure within eight years.

An amendment issued by BARDA to BAA 09-34 at the same time, however, enable companies to submit proposals to obtain development funding for rPA vaccine candidates, which Emergent has been strongly encouraged to do by BARDA.

Emergent plans to submit its proposal to the BAA by the end of this year, in front of the due date of February 1, 2010 for the proposals.

This announcement also does not impact Emergent’s $400 million procurement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to manufacture and deliver 14.5 million doses of BioThrax for the Strategic National Stockpile.

“With this action, BioThrax remains a critical and long-term countermeasure for the US government,” Fuad El-Hibri, chairman and chief executive officer of Emergent BioSolutions, said. “In addition, based upon encouragement by the USG, we believe our rPA vaccine is well-positioned to obtain a development contract under this BAA. Our anthrax franchise solidifies Emergent as a leader in the development and supply of anthrax medical countermeasures.”

BioThrax is currently being delivered under this contract with an expected completion of deliveries by September 2011. BioThrax is the only FDA licensed vaccine for the prevention of anthrax diseases.

“We believe that BioThrax will remain a premier product based on its recent enhancements, such as four-year dating, a reduced vaccination schedule and intramuscular route of administration, together with the potential for a further reduction in the vaccination schedule to a 3-dose primary series with a 3-year boost,” Daniel J.Abdun-Nabi, president and chief operating officer of Emergent BioSolutions, said. “BioThrax continues to be the product of choice for the USG and other customers seeking to address the anthrax threat.”

BARDA and Emergent are also in separate talks for a contract that would see BARDAA fund scale-up and related activities to obtain FDA licensure for large-scale production of BioThrax at Emergent’s new 50,000-square-foot Lansing, Mich., manufacturing facility.

“I am proud that Lansing remains home to America’s first line of defense against what experts say is the single biggest bioterror threat, anthrax,” U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, MI-08, said. “The good news about the cancellation of this particular proposal is HHS recommitted itself to the Lansing-made anthrax vaccine and has opened a new proposal for a next-generation anthrax vaccine for which Emergent has indicated it will compete.

“Rest assured, I will continue working to strengthen our nation’s existing bioterror preparedness measures and protect national security jobs in Lansing.”

Written by Staff and Wire Reports
Tuesday, 08 December 2009 01:28

Key news developments will affect shares of these two companies who help meet the critical needs of the United States and its allies by developing and commercializing medical countermeasures against biological and chemical weapons.

The two companies which waited until late after hours on Monday to announce that the Biomedical Research and Development Authority had informed them of some negative news.

After hours on Monday, PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE Amex: PIP) a biodefense company specializing in the development and commercialization of medical countermeasures against chemical and biological threats, announced that the Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has canceled its request for proposal (RFP) for Recombinant Protective Antigen Anthrax Vaccine for the Strategic National Stockpile (RFP BARDA 08-15).

PharmAthene was informed of BARDA’s decision during a meeting late Monday afternoon with BARDA representatives. BARDA issued a press release after the close of the securities markets announcing that it will cancel RFP BARDA 08-15 because it did not believe vaccine developers submitting proposals in response to the request for proposal (RFP) could have product ready for FDA licensure within 8 years.

In similar news…

Emergent BioSolutions Inc. (NYSE:EBS) announced today that it has been advised by the Office of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) that the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the procurement of rPA vaccines has been cancelled in favor of a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for rPA vaccine development. According to BARDA officials, BARDA took this action after a technical evaluation panel determined that none of the vaccine developers submitting proposals could meet the Project BioShield statutory requirement of having a product ready for licensure within 8 years.

Simultaneously, BARDA issued an amendment to BAA 09-34 to enable companies to submit proposals to obtain development funding for rPA vaccine candidates. The due date for all proposals is February 1, 2010. During a meeting with company officials today, BARDA strongly encouraged Emergent to submit a proposal to this BAA. Emergent intends to submit its proposal by the end of this year.

While the decision by BARDA has no impact on the company’s $400 million procurement contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the manufacture and delivery of 14.5 million doses of BioThrax® into the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). Investors are still likely to react negatively to the news.

After selling dies down, there may be a bounce trade opportunity for EBS followers since the company feels that “BioThrax remains a critical and long-term countermeasure for the US government,” said Fuad El-Hibri, chairman and chief executive officer of Emergent BioSolutions. “In addition, based upon encouragement by the USG, we believe our rPA vaccine is well-positioned to obtain a development contract under this BAA. Our anthrax franchise solidifies Emergent as a leader in the development and supply of anthrax medical countermeasures.”

Source :: http://biomedreports.com/articles/most-popular/20870-bad-news-clouds-move-in-on-these-stocks.html