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Ag Genomics: Monsanto Closes Cereon, Keeps Millennium Partnership


Cereon Genomics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto and a product of a long-term collaboration with Millennium Pharmaceuticals, has been shut down. The Cambridge, Mass., facility, home to approximately 140 employees, “will not be part of our system around mid-year,” says Monsanto spokeswoman Lori Fisher.

The decision coincides with a restructuring plan underway at Monsanto, which will cost as much as $124 million and would cut about five percent of its worldwide staff — between 600 and 700, the majority of which would be in New Zealand, southeastern Asia, Australia, and North America, Fisher says. Some of the Cereon staff will assume positions within Monsanto, but she could not say how many.

“It’s a tough decision,” Fisher says. “Cereon has been extraordinarily successful … in structural and functional genomics.”

Fisher stressed that the decision to shut down Cereon, which was launched in 1997, has not affected Monsanto’s broader collaboration with Millennium. Monsanto also has ongoing relationships with Affymetrix, Bangalore Genomics, Ceres, danforth plant sciences Center, IBM, Incyte, Mystic Genomics, Orchid BioSciences, Paradigm, Rosetta, and Third Wave Technologies.

— Kirell Lakhman