Why Optimer Pharmaceuticals Shares Soared

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Optimer Pharmaceuticals (UNKNOWN: OPTR.DL  ) , a biopharmaceutical company, rose as much as 19% following the resignation of its CEO and the announcement of a planned strategic review for the company.

So what: Before the opening bell, Optimer announced that its CEO, Pedro Lichtinger, had agreed to step down, and noted that its chairman, Dr. Henry McKinnell, will be taking over the CEO role. In addition, Optimer announced the beginning of a strategic review, which -- for savvy investors -- means that management could be looking to optimize shareholder value through a potential sale of all, or parts, of the company. Optimer already sold its stake in Optimer Biotechnology for $60 million in October, so clearly management is finally getting serious about increasing shareholder value.

Now what: The problem with increasing shareholder value through a strategic review is that it's going to be difficult with only one drug on the market: Dificid for the treatment of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea. Sales of the drug have been impressive in 2012 after a price cut was enacted, but estimates for 2013 only project about $107 million in total revenue. That means we're talking about a company valued at more than five times sales of its only drug. If we strip out the $98 million in cash Optimer has on its balance sheet, then we get down to a tad over four times sales figures -- but even that may be too rich a price for a buyer to absorb.

Craving more input? Start by adding Optimer Pharmaceuticals to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

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