I have to agree with you Tasty this is most likely nothing to get excited about. I'm sure we will have more detail soon. I personally had a great deal of respect for Dr. Kirkman even though I am not in agreement with everything he has done. Dr. Henney did hire him and I do trust that we are in very good hands in the interim. The release also says "temporarily" so it may not be permanent.
I would not read that much into this. It is likely that it is simply what it is -- Kirkman has some fairly serious medical condition.
The idea that the stock will now sell off is silly. Especially under the circumstances, the market will presume that a sale of the company upon trial success is much more likely. If anything, the stock will go up on this sad news.
The timing of this makes me very suspicious that there is more to this story than we know. The reasons for a medical leave of absence are many...and Dr.Kirkman may not be up to the present or approaching challenges either physically or mentally as determined by someone like his mentor and boss.
I think Kirkman has been a terrible leader, but I hope his medical troubles are short-lived and not serious. This is, however, likely to be more than having his appendix out for them to formally place him on leave.
There will be no real impact on ONTY IMO since Henney or an empty chair can wait for START results as effectively as Kirkman (and the rest of us) could.
I am sorry to learn about Dr. Robert Kirkman's health developments that are causing him to step down for now. I am confident, however, that the extremely talented and accomplished Dr. Christopher Henney (founder of Immunex and Dendreon CEO during key times of the company's developments) will be an excellent leader of Oncothyreon during this pivotal time.