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UPDATE: Lynx Therapeutics Fires 30 Percent of Staff

NEW YORK, April 18 - Lynx Therapeutics today said it has cut approximately 30 percent of its domestic workforce, or 60 people, and said it expects to focus more on its MPSS gene-expression technology and on the development of its Protein ProFiler proteomics technology.

"Our plan is to focus our resources on those areas that we feel have the greatest commercial value," Norrie Russell, president and CEO of Lynx, said in a statement. "We recognize and thank our former employees for their contributions. Accordingly, we planned this workforce reduction with sensitivity and respect."

The job cuts were from the company's internal gene-discovery efforts and did not affect people involved in its MPSS and protein-profiling areas, a person close to the company said.


"They are only laying off people in nonrevenue-generating positions," said Jonathan Aschoff, a New York City-based senior analyst at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey, a financial holding company which managed an approximately $22.6 million private equity financing for Lynx announced yesterday.


"It is positive to do a paring down," said Aschoff. "Being a tool company rather than a gene discovery company is a wiser use of cash. [They are] sticking to their core competency."


Aschoff said that he did not expect additional lay-offs.

The cuts come a little more than one month after Lynx sold its worldwide rights to its oligonucleotide technology to Geron for roughly $2.5 million. The cash-and-stock deal covers the sale of a family of patents that covers process and compositional matter related to oligos containing N3'-P5' phosphoramidate backbone linkages.

Russell added: "We believe that MPSS can achieve greater market penetration and a much higher level of commercial success. In addition, we consider our Protein ProFiler proteomics technology to be a valuable asset because of its development progress to date, and the likelihood for commercial success."

Company officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

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