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Dr Clive Dix has been appointed chief executive of Manchester-headquartered drug researcher C4X Discovery.
He joined the business as non-executive chairman in October 2014 and became executive chairman in November 2015.
Non-executive director Sam Williams will become interim chairman while the search for a new chairman is undertaken.
Dix said: "Having seen from an executive position the potential of the platform to generate entirely new compounds against high-value therapeutic targets more rapidly and efficiently than any technology I've come across before and having witnessed the interest we're receiving in C4X Discovery, I am delighted to take the helm on a full-time basis.
"I have never been more excited by a company than this one."
Most recently, Dix was chief executive of Convergence Pharmaceuticals, which was sold to Biogen in January 2015 for $675m (£464m).
Prior to that, he was involved in exits with PowderMed, Auralis and PowderJect Pharmaceuticals.