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Actelion Will Stay Independent: Founder

The chief executive and founder of Actelion, one of the world's biggest biotechnology companies, defended his record on CNBC Thursday and said the firm would stay independent despite pressure from activist shareholders.

AP

Jean Paul Clozel, chief executive of Actelion , told CNBC: "I have confidence that Actelion on its own will be very successful."

Elliott Advisors, the activist investor, have tried to bring in new directors and called for the board to consider a sale of the company, which has had a couple of high-profile disappointments in its pipeline of new treatments.

Clozel defended the company and said: "Actelion has the pipeline and the people to really succeed."

On Thursday, Actelion announced that its total product sales had risen by 10 percent in local currencies during the first half of 2011, but fallen by 9 percent when measured in Swiss francs.

The Basel-based company has taken a hit from the strength of the Swiss currency.

"We can't change our strategy because of currency," Clozel told CNBC.

It is waiting for results on key new drugs for multiple sclerosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

The company also took a hit from a $577 million US legal ruling in a commercial dispute with a Japanese partner.

Jean-Paul Garnier, former chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline , will become chairman next year.

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