PDL On The Block

(AP) Biotechnology company PDL BioPharma Inc. said Monday it has put on the block the whole company or key assets and said its chief executive stepped down.

The decision stems from an ongoing review of strategic alternatives, the company said.

It is continuing to consider selling its commercial products as part of the overall process.

The company also said Chief Executive Mark McDade stepped down, effective immediately. L. Patrick Gage will replace him as interim chief executive and will continue to serve as a director of the company.

The company board named Karen A. Dawes as chairman of the board to replace Gage.

Merrill Lynch & Co. is the company's financial adviser and will actively seek takeover offers.

Last week Highland Capital Management, which holds a 4.7 percent stake in PDL BioPHarma, urged PDL's board to sell the company and called for the immediate resignations of Gage and McDade.

PDL said last month it would restructure by selling the company's cardiovascular condition treatments and cutting jobs. The company said it planned to shift the company's focus to developing cancer treatments and treatments for immunological disorders.

Shares of the company added 13 cents to $21.50 in after-hours trading.