Pharmacopeia Drug Discovery Inc. (PCOP), 3000 Eastpark Boulevard, Box 5350, Cranbury 08512; 609-452-3600; fax, 609-452-3672. Joseph Mollica, chairman and CEO.

Pharmacopeia CEO Leslie Browne resigned suddenly on April 9 "to pursue other interests." He has been replaced on an interim basis by Joseph Mollica, the chairman of the board. Browne had been the biotech’s CEO since 2004.

The company plans to release Phase II results for its lead drug, PS433540, a treatment for hypertension, in May. Joseph Pantginis, an analyst who follows Pharmacopeia, termed the departure shocking, but said that, in his view, it was not connected with the upcoming release of date on the hypertension drug.

Pharmacopeia, which upped its employee roster from 150 to about 173 within the past year, has drug development agreements with a number of major pharmaceutical companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, and GlaxoSmithKline, from which it received a $5 million milestone payment on March 18.

The company’s stock dipped 40 cents, or 11 percent, on the news of Browne’s departure, but was beginning to rebound by the following Monday.

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