For the second time in less than a year, aaiPharma ( AAII) has changed its top management.

The Wilmington, N.C.-based drug company said Tuesday that Frederick D. Sancilio, 54, the company's founder, would immediately step down as chairman, chief executive, president and chief science officer. Sancilio, however, will remain as a nonexecutive member of the board of directors of the ailing company.

The new president and CEO is Ludo Reynders, 50, who most recently held executive posts at Quintiles Transnational, a medical research services unit of Pharma Servicesin Durham, N.C.

In addition, aaiPharma chose a new nonexecutive chairman of the board, James G. Martin. He has been a board member since 1999 and is an executive with Carolinas HealthCare System, a regional health care organization. Martin, 68, was governor of North Carolina from 1984 to 1992.

The new management team joins a company whose stock has dropped by about 95% from its 52-week high of $31.85 on Jan. 21. In premarket trading Tuesday, the stock gained 21 cents, or 15.6%, to $1.56.

Sancilio returned to daily management in February, replacing Dr. Philip Tabbiner as CEO. Tabbiner joined aaiPharma in 2000 and became CEO in July 2002. So far this year, aaiPharma has replaced its chief operating officer, chief financial officer and several other top executives.

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