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Celera Cutting Back Proteomics Research Staff as Focus Shifts Downstream

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Celera is cutting back its proteomics research staff at its facility in Rockville, Md., as the company gradually evolves into a diagnostics developer, GenomeWeb Daily News has learned.
 
Company spokesman David Speechly confirmed that Celera is “trimming” its staff in proteomics research but would not provide details. He said the job cuts are part of a strategic shift that includes cutting out proteomics research but continuing to use proteomics resources for clinical development.
 
“We have been reducing our resources” in Rockville, “and the small team there is more aligned to diagnostics” and the proteomics branch will “continue to be trimmed down,” Speechly told GenomeWeb Daily News today.
 
The remaining proteomics staff is still “working on licensing proteomics programs” and “applying proteomic discoveries to diagnostics and development,” Speechly said.  
 
Celera President Kathy Ordoñez said during the company’s fiscal first quarter conference call last week that Celera is “shifting funding from discovery to development, and we curtailed our proteomics-based target discovery and validation activities while we continue to fund diagnostic proteomics-based work.”
 
Speechly said he could not estimate how many proteomics researchers may get pink slips because Celera has not yet broken down how the restructured division will eventually shape up.
 
The disclosure comes soon after Celera bought two San Francisco Bay-area companies, including the $195 million pick-up of diagnostics company Berkeley Heartlab and the $33 million deal for Atria Genetics.
  
Speechly said that, over the long term, Celera’s increasing focus downstream could cause it to shift its presence from Maryland to the West Coast, though he stressed that this would not mean the company would close its Rockville facility.

Also, as GenomeWeb Daily News reported in August, Applera said it has hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to look into strategic alternatives for Celera and Applied Biosytems, including the possibility of spinning the two shops into independently traded public companies in place of the two tracking stocks they currently occupy.

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