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Sequenom to Lay Off 30 Staffers to Cut Costs

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sequenom said today that it will lay off 30 employees — around 12 percent of its staff — in an effort to reduce costs.

In a statement, Sequenom said that "as a result of the continuing weak outlook in 2009 for capital equipment sales, particularly in the USA," it has carried out cost-cutting initiatives in its Genetic Analysis business "to ensure the unit remains financially strong and approaches cash flow breakeven."

The company said that it is also "repositioning the GA business to better exploit potential synergies with the molecular diagnostic business by focusing on developing methods and assays for translational research and patient profiling in clinical trials."

Sequenom said that it has laid off 30 employees from its GA workforce, effective immediately. As of Feb. 2, 2009, the company employed 248 people, according to its most recent annual report.

The layoffs are expected to save $8 million in 2009, with an annualized reduction in costs of $10 million.

The company will record estimated charges of $850,000 in the second quarter of 2009 in connection with the layoffs.

Sequenom said that it plans to "add resources" to the GA business unit "as the economy shows improvement and revenues resume an upward trend."

"These actions are difficult but essential," Harry Stylli, president and CEO of Sequenom, said in a statement. " While we remain optimistic that the outlook for the genetic analysis business will improve, we also need to exercise financial prudence to ensure that our capital resources are properly allocated and utilized."

Stylli added that the company will continue to market its products to its "traditional customers," such as academic institutions who are carrying out genotyping, methylation, and gene expression studies. However, he said that there is "great potential value" for its offerings "in new and growing markets, such as translational research, and in better exploiting the interface with the molecular diagnostics business."

The company still plans to launch its SEQureDx prenatal testing technology in June.

Sequenom said it will provide additional details about the restructuring with the release of its first-quarter 2009 financial results, scheduled for April 30.

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