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GSK Extends Contract of Chief Executive Officer

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — J.P. Garnier will remain chief executive officer of international pharmaceutical giant


a few more months than originally planned.

Garnier disclosed the contract extension as he defended GSK against animal rights activists who have protested against the use of animals in drug testing. GSK utilizes data from a company that uses animals in testing,

"We would not move our company headquarters to the U.S. simply because of this issue - there are far more important considerations and we are first and foremost a British-based company, even though we are a global player, and our headquarters will remain in the U.K.," Garnier said in an interview with British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

Many key drugs " would not be around if we were following the lead set by animal rights extremists," he said, according to The Associated Press. GSK, which has a major operation in RTP as well as Wendell in Wake County, said Garnier's contract had been extended to May 2008. It had been set to expire in October of 2007 when he turned 60.

GSK has three major drugs (Cervarix for cervical cancer, Tykerb for breast cancer and Eltrombopag for uncontrolled bleeding) in the pipeline for possible launch next year, according to the AP.

"I am delighted that JP has agreed to an extension of his contract and will continue to lead GSK for the next two years," said GSK Chairman Sir Christopher Gent. "This will maintain momentum for GSK, in what will be an important and exciting period for the pipeline; and, during this period, will enable the board to complete the process for appointing his successor."

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