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Millennium to Layoff 600, Close UK and California Offices in Major Restructuring

NEW YORK, June 5 - Millennium said today it plans to lay off an additional 600 staff and phase out its Cambridge, UKand South San Franciscooperations, in a move to restructure the company to focus more tightly on drug development and commercialization.


"The recent approval and launch of Velcade for Injection has reinforced our commitment to bring breakthrough products to market that will make a real difference in people's lives," Mark Levin, Millennium's CEO, said in a statement. "In the current environment, however, we realize that to keep delivering on this commitment we need to focus more sharply on the most attractive opportunities in our pipeline. Unfortunately, this means that we will no longer have roles for many outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of the company."


The layoffs will take place between the present quarter and the end of 2004, the company said. The bulk of the layoffs will occur in the research, especially in early-stage discovery, the company said, as well as in administrative staff. The company also plans to staff out R&D associated with its drug development pipeline and grow its commercial staff.


Millennium also said it will "explore divestiture of certain assets" as part of the restructuring. Though it wasn't clear which assets these would be, Millennium acquired Cor Therapeutics in February 2002.


Currently in the genomics and proteomics space, Millennium has collaborations with Lynx, Genaissance, Lexicon Genetics, Agencourt, Compugen, Structural Genomix, and Affymetrix, among others. It was not yet clear what the future of these partnerships would be, in light of the company's trimming its discovery research.


This latest restructuring comes just six months after a major management shake-up and the layoffs of 100 employees at the end of December.

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