Elan chief executive Kelly Martin is to continue in the post for a while longer having said he would step down in May from a job he has held for nine years.

Robert Ingram, chairman at the Irish drugmaker, says he has asked Mr Martin  to continue as CEO until Phase III data from the Alzheimer's drug bapineuzumab, "has been shared publicly, evaluated and assessed". The bapineuzumab Phase III trials are run by Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, but the drug is "potentially of transformational significance for Elan", said Mr Ingram, as "not only did our scientists discover the approach and shepherd the clinical progression on the programmes, but we retain an approximately 25% economic interest in the full portfolio of the Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Programme (AIP)".

He noted that during the past eight months, the board has had "several in-depth discussions with a number of exceptionally high calibre candidates" regarding the CEO role. However, they decided that the company "will be best served by having Kelly continue his leadership through this critical period and strategic inflection point in the company’s progression".