Sikorski quits as troubled Cantab seeks buyer

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The Independent Online

Jurek Sikorski resigned as chief executive of Cantab Pharmaceuticals yesterday as the troubled biotech group put itself up for sale.

Jurek Sikorski resigned as chief executive of Cantab Pharmaceuticals yesterday as the troubled biotech group put itself up for sale.

The departure of Mr Sikorski, a former professional footballer, comes eight days after Cantab said its lead drug, a genital warts treatment, had failed in clinical trials. The news wiped 67 per cent off Cantab's share price. The shares yesterday firmed 3p to 82p.

Jeremy Curnock Cook, the biotech entrepreneur and life sciences fund manager, has become executive deputy chairman. Nick Hart, chief operating officer, is to be acting chief executive. Cantab investors have voiced discontent with the management since merger talks with Peptide Therapeutics, a rival vaccines group, broke down.

Credit Suisse First Boston, the investment bank, is conducting a strategic review of the Cantab, which will run out of cash in 2002, two years before it is forecast to make a profit. Analysts said the most likely buyers were the US biotech firms Corixa and Avant. Peptide is not thought to be interested, although industry observers said it made sense for a UK biotech to reverse into Cantab.

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