In last act, PDL chief takes out the ax

Mark McDade has already announced that he's leaving his post as CEO of PDL BioPharma at the end of the year. And last night he revealed some very good reasons for hitting the exit. First, the company's late-stage therapy Nuvion, for ulcerative colitis, was axed after researchers harvested some discouraging efficacy data. PDL said in the same breath that it is putting its three approved drugs--Cardene, Retavase and Busulfex, all acquired in the ESP Pharma buyout two years ago--up for sale and is terminating 250 workers as it concentrates its development work on cancer and immunological diseases. A company spokesperson says that more layoffs are coming.

That could be seen as a vindication of sorts for Third Point, a big PDL investor which has directed a stream of scathing reviews McDade's way. An internal investigation has cleared McDade of Third Point's claim that McDade was incompetent and blowing the company's money, but he announced plans to resign soon nevertheless. With this kind of news to deliver, sooner may look a lot better than later.

- see PDL's release on the changes