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Biotech manager Gareth Powell leaves AXA Framlington

(Update: Powell joining Polar Capital) AXA Framlington Biotechnology fund manager Gareth Powell has left the firm for Polar Capital.

In the short-term his fund (Framlington Biotechnology Acc) is to be run by the manager of AXA Framlington Health (Framlington Health Inc) fund Dr Deane Donnigan and veteran healthcare manager Anthony Milford who has gradually been stepping back from the fund range he has been involved with for some time.

Powell had run the fund since April 2005 after taking over from Milford. His role at Polar Capital, when he starts in October, will see him oversee broader healthcare mandates.

His move comes as AXA Framlington announced that it has hired Gemma Game as a fund manager in the team reporting to Donnigan and Milford. Game joins from BlackRock but it is not anticipated she will take over Powell's fund.

Gavin Haynes, managing director of Whitechurch Securities said that the departure comes just as biotechnology began to look like an attractive prospect.

He said: 'This is a blow for AXA Framlington. He was establishing himself with a good name and we had been buying in over the last few months so now we will have to meet the new management.

'It is a shame for the company that it comes just as the asset class is taking off.'

Over the past three years to the end of June 2007 the fund turned £1,000 into £1,455. The same sum invested in the NASDAQ Biotechnology index would have turned into £1,195, ignoring the effects of initial charges and with gross income reinvested at the payment date, according to Lipper.

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