Cambridge Antibody chief quits after 11 years

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The Independent Online

David Chiswell, the founder and chief executive of Cambridge Antibody Trust, is standing down after 11 years at the helm of the biotech group.

The news surprised the City, and came as CAT said spending on trials of its drug for patients undergoing glaucoma surgery had pushed losses to £11.8m for the year to 30 September, from £8.3m last time. CAT said the change prepared the way for its transition from an experimental technology venture to a profitable drug company. Analysts expect break-even by 2006. The company has appointed Korn/Ferry, the headhunters, to search for a new chief executive with international experience in the commercial pharmaceutical industry.

Mr Chiswell, now 48, set up CAT in 1990 after a career in molecular biology with Amersham. He said he "didn't really want to run a profitable company" and would begin looking for part-time positions in the industry when a successor is appointed within the next 12 months. Analysts were positive on the news. Emma Palmer of WestLB Panmure said: "Many biotechs have suffered from not realising that the different stages of company development require different management."

CAT is trialling six products based on its technology to produce human antibodies.