Entrepreneur Of The Year 2009
Road to Palm Springs
Emergent BioSolutions Inc.
A lifelong entrepreneur with a graduate degree from Yale, Fuad El-Hibri had built and sold three successful telecom companies in Russia, Venezuela and El Salvador when his career path took an unexpected turn. El-Hibri was working in Saudi Arabia as a consultant when the Gulf War erupted, raising fears about the possible use of biological weapons.
After reading that a limited supply of vaccines against anthrax was being produced by a small company in Britain, El-Hibri felt compelled to act. He contacted the company and eventually became CEO, expanding its capacity and eventually selling it to a large pharmaceutical company.
In 1998, El-Hibri learned that Michigan Biologic Products Institute, which produced the only FDA-approved anthrax product, BioThrax®, was being put up for sale by the state. El-Hibri defeated 18 other bidders by leveraging his $3.5 million bid into a collaborative arrangement that would yield a potential payout of $25 million for the state, and Emergent BioSolutions was born.
Overcoming a series of challenges, El-Hibri established his company as a reliable provider to the US Department of Defense. In addition to its anthrax vaccine, the company has a pipeline of vaccines and therapeutics aimed at botulism, tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis B and chlamydia. It went public in 2006 and last year had a whopping 415% increase in its stock price, the highest appreciation of any US equity.