Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has won control of US biotechnology company ImClone Systems following the departure of chief executive Joseph Fischer, but insists he has no plans to sell the company.

Icahn had accused management at ImClone of failing to make the most of the company’s greatest asset and only marketed drug – the cancer drug Erbitux (cetuximab) – and has progressively ousted members of the board over recent months.

He has now been installed as chairman of the company, and said his first task was to appoint a new chief executive with industry experience, as well as restore relations with Bristol-Myers Squibb, which markets Erbitux in the USA.

A new executive committee, headed by one of Icahn’s close associates, Alex Donner, will take over day-to-day management of the company until a new CEO is found.

Icahn said he was committed to building up ImClone as an independent entity. He was accused a few weeks ago of de-railing an offer for the business from French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis, on the grounds that it was informal and did not represent fair value for the business.

Meantime, ImClone has also reported third-quarter revenues of $151 million, up 42% year-on-year but a little shy of analysts’ estimate, while operating income more than doubled to $57 million.