Turning up the heat on biotech

Turning up the heat on biotech: "Ayear ago, Mark McDade, chief executive officer of PDL BioPharma in Fremont, was planning the move of his biotechnology company to a glamorous new office complex in Redwood City. PDL's operations were growing as it sought to expand its line of acute-care drugs, and it needed bigger quarters.

Now McDade, a Harvard MBA, is fending off critics who blast his real estate deal as just one example of his extravagant spending.

Welcome to the world of shareholder activism - a world that increasingly is engulfing biotech executives.

In several prominent cases, hedge fund managers and other activist investors have bought stakes in biotech companies and challenged the decisions of top managers - and, in some cases, sought their ouster.

McDade is the target of a determined campaign to overthrow him by Third Point LLC, a New York investment firm founded in 1995 by money manager Daniel Loeb. Loeb's firm previously challenged management strategies and forced board changes at such companies as Ligand Pharmaceuticals of San Diego and Nabi Biopharmaceuticals of Boca Raton, Fla."