British Biotech ousts chief executive Goldstein

Elliot Goldstein, the controversial chief executive of British Biotech, has been ousted from his post after failing to pull off a merger deal for the UK biotech industry pioneer.

British Biotech said last month that talks with a German drug maker had broken down, the latest in a string of failed negotiations which had added to the perception that Mr Goldstein was standing in the way of a deal.

He left the company following yesterday's announcement after four years at the helm, taking a £400,000 pay-off.

Christopher Hampson, the chairman, said yesterday that "success had proved elusive" for Mr Goldstein and the board wanted new blood and fresh ideas to drive the search for a big deal. It needs to get its hands on a new portfolio of products because there is no prospect of any of British Biotech's four remaining in-house drugs reaching the market before its cash pile of £43m runs out.

Mr Hampson said: "Elliot has done a terrific job when you look at what he inherited. He has dealt with British Biotech's past history and brought down a cash burn that was running at £50m a year."

Calls for Mr Goldstein's removal have been growing in recent months and in particular since the disclosure of talks with MorphoSys of Germany. The deal never found favour with shareholders and was abandoned last month.

Mr Goldstein went out of his way at the time to say that a dispute over the merged company's management structure had not been at the heart of the latest failure. It is widely believed that Mr Goldstein's desire to secure a top job scuppered previous negotiations, including with Antisoma and Xenova, the UK cancer specialists.

Mr Hampson dismissed the claims. "Elliot never stood in the way of any deal and these sort of social issues never reared their head. Unfortunately this is one of those myths that keeps getting repeated until people start to believe it. That can in itself be a barrier and maybe people didn't come forward to do a deal who otherwise maybe would have done."

British Biotech shares rose 0.3p to 4.8p on Mr Goldstein's departure. They have been on a downward trajectory since 1998, when a share price of 145p took them to the brink of the FTSE 100. The company's supposed wonderdrug for cancer, marimastat, failed to work and the previous management was ousted after claims that it failed to give timely information to shareholders on marimastat's disappointing performance in clinical trials. It is still being threatened with legal action from lawyers representing some shareholders, but no formal proceedings have begun.

The company has initiated a search for a new boss and appointed Tim Edwards as acting chief executive. Mr Edwards is a former corporate financier who moved to British Biotech in 1997 from NatWest Markets, and who has been chief operating officer since May. Mr Hampson said Mr Edwards was a candidate to take the top executive post on a permanent basis.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor