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Applied Precision Sacks 10 Percent of Staff; Plans Company-Wide Personnel Changes

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 27 – Applied Precision has laid off 10 percent of its workforce as it embarks on a broad corporate restructuring program, a source familiar with the company told GenomeWeb  on Saturday.

The privately held bioarray firm, based in Issaquah, Wash., initiated the downsizing earlier this month, the source said at the 2001 annual Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference, held here through Sunday. Before the layoffs the company employed 190 people, according to its website.

The source also said that Applied Precision plans to buy out its owners’ stake in the company “soon” and take over all formal business operations. He did not say what the buyout would cost or under what terms it will be performed.

The company was founded in 1985 by engineers John Stewart who specialized in mechanics; Ron Seubert, an electronics expert; and Don Snow, a physics specialist. The source told GenomeWeb  that these men “are old now” and no longer wish to run the firm.

It was too early to tell if the restructuring will result in a new round of layoffs. Asked if his job will be affected, the source, an employee of the company, said: “I hope so,” referring to the likelihood of individual promotions. 

He also said that Applied Precision may be finalizing a new round of venture capital investment, but declined to specify when or with whom.

Company officials were not immediately available for comment.

Applied Precision develops tools that measure and analyze biotechnology research, semiconductor metrology, photonics, flow control, and micropositioning.

Earlier this month, Applied Precision had entered into a reseller partnership “worth in the seven figures” with start-up bioinformatics company MolecularWare. Terms of the agreement call for MolecularWare to integrate its DigitalGenome software into Applied Precision’s family of microarray biochip readers.

Financial details of the deal, originally announced in the last week of September, were not disclosed. 

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