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Biotech

Transkaryotic Therapies

(TKTX)

, fresh off an embarrassing setback by drug regulators, announced CEO Richard Selden resigned and was replaced by a former executive with the firm.

Michael Astrue, a former vice president and general counsel at the company, is replacing Selden, effective immediately, according to the company.

Shares of TKT dove 24% in mid-January, after a Food and Drug Administration panel

recommended against approval for Replagel, its drug for Fabry disease, a rare genetic disorder. A fistful of class-action shareholder suits have been filed against the company over its handling of the Replagel application and there are rumors of an investigation by the

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Securities and Exchange Commission

.

The same FDA panel that recommended against Replagel voted in favor of

Genzyme's

(GENZ)

Fabrazyme.

That likely means that Genzyme's drug will be awarded orphan status and a seven-year lock on what could be $335 million U.S. market. Still, TKT sells Replagel in Europe and has another drug in the pipeline.

In trading Tuesday, TKT closed up 52 cents, or 13.7%, to $4.32. The company is discussing management changes and the company direction on a conference call tomorrow. Financial performance for the fourth quarter and 2002 will be announced next month after a review by the new management.