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Chasing Profitability, Cellomics Sheds More Staff and Shelves Two Projects

NEW YORK, Oct. 17 - Cellomics has trimmed another 25 percent of its workforce and has put the brakes on a pair of its most promising technologies as it continues to chase profitability, a company official said today.


Still stinging from a missed IPO opportunity two years ago, Cellomics has shelved for at least two years the development of a cellular bioinformatics technology and a platform called CellChip, devised to compete with traditional microplates, said Presidnet and CEO Lansing Taylor. In January he said the company has merely slowed the development of the projects


Taylor, who was promoted to chairman yesterday, also said the company has laid off approximately 25 percent of its workforce beginning in April and culminating yesterday, bringing to roughly 100 the total number of staffers let go since January.


Taylor stressed the company will continue to build on its existing ArrayScan technology and roll out is new KineticScan technology, which uses fluorescence-based reagents to study the kinetic responses of cells. "We will--we must--continue serious R&D, but it is now more of a balance," he said, without elaborating.


With a closed IPO window and renewed pressure from investors to become profitable, Cellomics "had to rethink what we were going to do and how we were going to behave since we didn't know how long the market would be closed," Taylor told GenomeWeb in an interview this morning. He said his company, which believes an IPO in the near term is unlikely, has decided instead to refocus its business model, which resulted in the belt-tightening and R&D adjustments.


"Because we had already developed some key products, we were already in the position to make a run at profitability without" having an IPO in its sights. "Although we had very strong intellectual property ... if something wasn't going to generate revenue in two years or less, delay it," he said.


But the IPO issue appears to be moot altogether for Cellomics. Nine months ago, Taylor announced that "when there is a window, we are prepared to go through it." Today, he said: "If a bank approaches us and says, 'Hey, the window's open, let's go,' I'd say, 'No.'"