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Gliatech Chief Executive Retires

September 27, 2000

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Thomas O. Oesterling, the president and chief executive officer of Gliatech Inc., has retired, the biotech company said.

Oesterling, 62, previously gave up chairmanship of the company during shortly after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration research audit in August raised questions about clinical tests on Gliatech’s only U.S. product, a gel used to prevent scarring after back surgery.

The company announced Oesterling’s retirement Monday.

Robert P. Pinkas, who was Oesterling’s replacement as chairman, will serve as acting chief executive and president until a permanent replacement is found.

After the FDA raised concerns, the suburban Cleveland company’s merger with Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Baltimore was called off and its stock plunged.

Gliatech shares Tuesday closed at $6.84, down 2.2 percent, on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Chief Operating Officer Rodney E. Dausch said Monday the result of an investigation by outside research experts the company brought in has been given to the company’s board.

He said the investigation failed to find that intentional misconduct occurred relating to the clinical tests but that ``there was insufficient supervisory oversight″ of the process.

``I’m very passionate about turning this company back around, and getting ourselves on a solid footing with the FDA,″ Dausch said.

Oesterling had been the top executive of Gliatech since 1989.

Dausch said Oesterling’s retirement ``was a mutual agreement.″

The company issued no statement on Oesterling’s behalf. A telephone call to Oesterling’s residence Tuesday was not answered.

Gliatech has submitted a response to the FDA based on an investigation by its own staff concerning the clinical research. The FDA audit found evidence that follow-up clinical trial research results may have been altered.

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