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EXCLUSIVE: Monsanto Shuts Down Cereon Genomics

NEW YORK, April 15 - Cereon Genomics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto and a product of a long-term collaboration with Millennium Pharmaceuticals, has been shut down.


A Monsanto spokeswoman today confirmed that the company's approximately 140 employees were told about the decision last week. Cereon's facility in Cambridge, Mass., "will not be part of our system around mid-year," said the spokeswoman, Lori Fisher.


"It was a Monsanto decision," she said, adding that the move coincided with a broader restructuring currently underway at Monsanto. "It's a tough decision. Cereon has been extraordinarily successful ... in structional and functional genomics. Substantially all of the objectives that Monsanto and Millennium had for Cereon ... have been very successful."


Asked whether Cereon was created with a set of goals--and thus an expiration date--in place, Fisher said, "over time, everybody would have logically concluded that ... you kind of have to go to the next step, if you will."


Fisher added that "some" of the staff at Cereon will assume positions at Monsanto, though she could not say how many. "There will be discussions about relocating  to other Monsanto sites with some of the employees, but I don't have a sense for how many that would involve."

She also stressed that the decision to shut down Cereon, which was launched in 1997, has not affected Monsanto's broader collaboration with Millennium.

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