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Sequoia selects ex-GSK exec as new CEO

US-based, venture-capital funded Sequoia Pharmaceuticals has chosen a former GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) executive as its new president and CEO.

US-based, venture-capital funded Sequoia Pharmaceuticals has chosen a former GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) executive as its new president and CEO.

Steve Skolsky took up the role on 29 October 2007 and replaced outgoing head Cindy Collins. Sequoia said that Collins had moved on to a new position at a publicly traded company, but did not elaborate.

Skolsky, who will also join the company's board, spent 25 years as a life sciences executive, including a period heading up commercial strategy and sales and marketing for GSK. His most recent position was that of CEO of Trimeris, a US-headquarterd biotech.

Until Skolsky was hired, Muz Mansuri was listed as Sequoia's interim CEO. Mansuri, a Sequoia board member and senior adviser for a US life sciences transactions advisory firm, led an investor presentation for the local company at the Mid-Atlantic Bio Conference last week.

Sequoia won a USD 35m in a third-round financing in late December 2006, making up more than half of the company's funding total. As a result, Sequoia will move its second HIV protease inhibitor into human clinical trials in Q1 2008.

The company says that is considering a second round of fundraising in Q2 2008, and Skolsky's appointment should help with the funding.

Gary Altman, Sequoia's COO and co-founder, said: "From the point of view of the investors and board of directors, he was by far the most attractive candidate. They were overjoyed that he accepted the position."

30th September 2008

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