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Elan Chief to Stay on Until Alzheimer Drug Data Published

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March 1 (Bloomberg) -- Elan Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kelly Martin, who planned to step down by May 1, will remain in the job until data is published from late-stage clinical trials of an experimental drug for Alzheimer’s disease.

The results on bapineuzumab are “potentially of transformational significance for Elan,” Chairman Robert Ingram said in a statement today. Johnson & Johnson acquired Dublin-based Elan’s Alzheimer’s immunotherapy program, including bapineuzumab, in 2009. J&J has said it expects to announce the study outcomes in the middle of this year.

“After much thought and consideration, the full board and I believe that Elan and our shareholders will be best served by having Kelly continue his leadership through this critical period,” Ingram said. “After a number of discussions between me and the full board of directors, I have requested that Kelly extend his tenure as the Elan CEO until the bapineuzumab data has been shared publicly, evaluated and assessed.”

Elan fell 0.1 percent to 9.37 euros at 10:35 a.m. in Dublin. The company’s American depositary receipts have soared 95 percent in the past year, compared with a 15 percent return for the Bloomberg Europe Pharmaceutical Index.

Alzheimer’s Alliance

Elan has a 25 percent stake in the Alzheimer’s program. The company developed bapineuzumab with Wyeth, now owned by Pfizer Inc. J&J and Pfizer are now overseeing research into the drug.

J&J expects to be able to file for regulatory approval for bapineuzumab by the end of the year if the trial results are positive, the company said in January.

The board held discussions with “a number of exceptionally high-caliber candidates regarding the Elan CEO role” and will maintain a dialog with those “who remain interested in the position and who support this decision,” according to the statement.

Martin, a former Merrill Lynch & Co. banker, joined Elan in 2003 after an accounting scandal led to the ouster of his predecessor.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Serafino in Paris at pserafino@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net

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