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Yakatan Steps Down From Avanir

Sorrento Valley-based biotechnology firm Avanir Pharmaceuticals, which sells a treatment for cold sores over-the-counter, announced Monday that its president, chief executive officer and director, Gerald Yakatan, has resigned effective immediately.

Avanir stock closed down 10.5 percent to $2.48 in trading on the American Stock Exchange Monday. Its symbol is AVN.

Also Monday, Avanir reported a larger-than-expected second-quarter loss.

Avanir reported a second-quarter net loss of $14.1 million, or 14 cents a share, compared with $6.7 million, or 9 cents a share, for the same quarter a year ago.

The company attributed the higher loss to a $7.2 million charge for the company’s buyout of additional rights to Neurodex technology, as well as research and development costs.

Neurodex, an experimental drug to treat pseudobulbar effect, has completed two large clinical trials.

Yakatan agreed to stay on as a consultant to Avanir for a year, advising the firm on its Neurodex new drug application.

Meanwhile, the company will start its search for a new CEO with significant pharmaceutical operating experience.

Chairman Charles Mathews will assist management on day-to-day matters while the search continues.

Marion Webb

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