Some Would Argue That Surgeons Achieved One Of Medicine's top breakthroughs when they first thought of washing their hands before operating. That was an important first step in protecting patients from the bacteria and viruses that have evolved into some
of humanity's most deadly enemies. In keeping with the idea that prevention is the best way to deal with infection, vaccines
have eviscerated the power of organisms causing polio, measles, and tetanus.
1. Mark L. Smith, senior vice president of finance, treasurer, and CFO. 2. Henrik S. Rasmussen, MD, PhD, senior vice president,
clinical, medical, and regulatory affairs. 3. Thomas H. McLain, chairman, CEO, and president. 4. H. LeRoux Jooste, senior
vice president, global sales and marketing. 5. Mark Soufleris, vice president, investor and public relations.
Government endorsed and subsidized immunization programs have done a remarkable job of keeping most children—in developed
nations, anyway—free of the diseases that once took or destroyed millions of lives. Other, more recently adopted vaccination
programs, for groups at high risk for viruses causing the flu and meningitis, have become the norm in many places around the
Thomas H. McLain ACPA by training, McLain served in roles of increasing responsibility at Nabi for four years before taking
the reins in November 2002 from retiring CEO David Gury. Within a year, McLain was named the 2003 "Best Technology Company
CEO" by the South Florida Business Journal. Words of wisdom: "Leadership isn't about 'I need to know this,' and 'we need to
do that.' It's about building a rapport with the people who work with you and asking questions and learning from the answers."
And still, despite their successes, many of the world's most widely used vaccines don't bring in big bucks for their corporate
marketers. So it isn't surprising that the industry perceives vaccine manufacturing as a relatively low-margin business. Consider
some sales figures: In 2003, the $3.8 billion in combined US/European sales of all marketed vaccines was about the same as
sales for Johnson & Johnson's Procrit (epoetin alpha), which neared $4 billion that year. (See "One Among Hundreds")
One Among Hundreds
The typical vaccine is hardly a good candidate for traditional pharmaceutical blockbuster status. But that couldn't matter
less to the 727 employees of Nabi Biopharmaceuticals. Nabi is a small but growing, vertically integrated company that has
long caught the eye of analysts. In 1998, for instance, it was honored as Frost & Sullivan's Market Engineering Entrepreneurial
Company of the Year, for "working harder, faster, and more efficiently than its more established competitors and making solid
inroads in the market despite its smaller size."
In many ways, Nabi resembles many other biopharmaceutical companies in that its business hinges on its scientific acumen in
one area—immunology. Publicly traded on the NASDAQ, it has, thus far, focused on just two professional specialty markets—hematology/oncology
and more recently, nephrology. It has three products on the market:
- Nabi-HB (hepatitis B immune globulin) antibody treatment
- PhosLo (calcium acetate), a treatment for elevated blood phosphate levels associated with kidney failure
- Aloprim (allopurinol), an inhibitor of uric acid production for chemotherapy patients.