CEO at troubled Cardiome exits in midst of reorganization

A few months ago Cardiome CEO Doug Janzen laid out some vaguely-worded plans to cut the biotech's spending in half as the developer scrambled to plug a budget gap left by Merck's decision to drop out of a key collaboration. Today, Janzen's salary became part of the cost-cutting equation as the Vancouver-based company noted his departure from the helm.

Until a permanent successor can be found for the troubled Vancouver-based biotech ($CRME), board member William Hunter--the founder and former CEO at Angiotech--is stepping in to the top job. Angiotech filed for bankruptcy protection back in early 2011, forced to reorganize after the financial crisis put a crimp on its ability to borrow money in the midst of a cash crunch.

Hunter's first task: "To review all current activities of the Company with the immediate objective of optimizing the spend rate, to define the strategic direction of the Company, and to put in place a plan for identifying a long-term CEO," according to the company release.

Back in mid-March Cardiome's stock took a beating after Janzen announced that Merck ($MRK) was pulling out of a deal to develop an oral version of vernakalant, its atrial fibrillation therapy. Its stock was trading at 46 cents this morning, down 9%.

- here's the press release