The executive chairman of UK-based drug delivery specialist SkyePharma, Ian Gowrie-Smith, will step down at the firm's next annual general meeting in 2004 and seek reappointment as non-executive chairman.
This will enable Mr Gowrie-Smith, who specialises in guiding companies in the early stages of their evolution, to concentrate on his other business interests. These include Triple Plate Junction, a mining company whose fund-raising and intention to join the Alternative Investment market was announced December 19.
Mr Gowrie-Smith founded SkyePharma in 1996. Over the following seven years, he built it into a company with a current market capitalisation of £470 million (EUR) that boasts a string of major pharmaceutical companies among its clients.
Prior to setting up SkyePharma, he founded Medeva, a UK pharmaceutical company that was subsequently acquired by Celltech in 1999 for £554 million. He leaves SkyePharma in a relatively strong position and with a fairly well regarded pipeline, although the company is running out of time in its bid to sign three major new contracts in 2003.
Earlier this year, SkyePharma warned that it might slip back into the red, after recording its first year of profits last year, unless it added another three major contracts to its books. Earlier this month, it signed a deal with Novartis for a Certihaler formulation of the long-acting beta agonist formoterol, used in the treatment of asthma.