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Optimer Terminates Michael Chang As Chairman, John Prunty As CFO

Optimer Pharmaceuticals (OPTR) Monday said it removed Michael Chang as chairman, terminated John Prunty as chief financial officer and Youe-Kong Shue as vice president. The terminations are related to lapses in compliance and conflict in its relationship with its 43 percent-owned Taiwanese-based independent affiliate - Optimer Biotechnology, Inc. or OBI.

Hank McKinnell, lead independent director, will be the new Chairman and Kurt Hartman, general counsel, chief compliance officer and senior vice president, will be the acting chief financial officer.

Optimer stated that the removal of Chang as chairman was based on his actions in his capacity as Optimer's representative on the board of OBI as well as his failure to identify and effectively manage compliance, record keeping and conflict of interest issues in connection with OBI's grant of 1.5 million shares of OBI to Chang. Optimer's assessment is that the grant of shares is potentially for the benefit of a third party.

According to Optimer, the changes are not expected to materially impact its revenues or operations, including the commercialization and launch of Dificid. In May 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved its antibiotic Dificid for the treatment of Clostridium difficile infection in adult patients, making it the first drug to be cleared in nearly thirty years to treat the disease.

Further, based upon preliminary results, the company expects to report first-quarter gross revenues of around $16.45 million. This represents an increase of nearly 36 percent over the sequential fourth quarter, the company added.

OPTR is currently trading at $13.58, down $0.71 or 4.97 percent, on a volume of 409 thousand shares on the Nasdaq.

by RTT Staff Writer

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