Serenex, which has signed a series of deals with some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry in recent months, now has a new president and chief executive officer.

Richard Kent, a former executive at GlaxoSmithKline for nearly two decades, takes over for Robert Dishman. Dishman founded the company and also served as CEO and chairman.

Paul Howard, a partner in Mediphase Venture Partners out of Boston that has invested in Serenex, takes over as chairman, according to media reports.

Kent most recently had served as CEO of Ardent Pharmaceuticals.

Serenex raised $15 million in venture capital in August and is in the process of expanding its workforce.

The company, which has developed technology to speed up drug discovery, already has signed deals this year with Johnson & Johnson, Pharmacia, Pfizer and Chiron.

Serenex: www.serenex.com