Rumours of an enforced exodus among senior management at SkyePharma.

Rumours of an enforced exodus among senior management at SkyePharma, the UK-based drug-delivery specialist, appear to have been scotched following publication of the company’s preliminary, albeit disappointing, results. ’I am confident that I can leave day-to-day management in the capable hands of Michael Ashton [chief executive officer] and his team,’ said chairman Ian Gowrie-Smith, who is stepping down in June as previously announced. ’2003 was a very frustrating year for SkyePharma,’ he admitted in a company statement.

Turnover was down by 24 per cent to ?53.2m, according to the published results, mainly as a result of delays to completion of new agreements which have been well documented across the media.

The optimistic outgoing chairman predicts a turnaround later this year with two products - DepoMorphine, an analgesic for the relief of acute post-operative pain, and Foradil Certihaler, a long-acting bronchodilator for asthma and related disorders - expected to reach the market.

Bea Perks