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Targacept picks Solvay's Stephen Hill to fill vacant CEO post

He will join the US clinical-stage biopharma next week

Targacept Dr Stephen HillTargacept has found a replacement for ex-CEO J Donald deBethizy, who stepped down in June following a difficult spell for the company that included poor trial results and failed partnerships.

The US clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company has picked Stephen Hill (pictured), who will join next week from Solvay, where he spent four years as president and CEO of its pharmaceuticals division.

Prior to that, he served at US biotech ArQule and Roche, where he held several leadership positions including global head of clinical development.

As Targacept's president and CEO, Hill will need to refocus the firm following the termination last year of its partnership with GlaxoSmithKline – with the loss of a potential $1.5bn in milestone payment.

The company then suffered another major blow earlier this year when poor late-stage trial results for an antidepressant candidate abruptly brought about the end of its collaboration with AstraZeneca

“Steve's appointment is the culmination of a robust selection process designed to identify the right person to take the helm at Targacept and drive value creation,” said Mark Skaletsky, chairman of Targacept's board of directors.

“Steve is a seasoned leader with an impressive background of achievement. He brings to Targacept substantial executive, operational and portfolio development experience. We welcome Steve to the organisation and look forward to working with him in the years to come.”

A qualified medical doctor, Hill currently serves as non-executive chairman for Novelos Therapeutics and Audeo Oncology, and previously spent seven years with the UK NHS specialising in general and orthopaedic surgery.

30th November 2012

From: Research

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