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Completing Previously Announced Reorganization, Silence Closes US Facility, Seeks New CEO

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Silence Therapeutics this week said that it has completed is previously announced restructuring and fully shuttered its US operations in Redwood City, Calif.

In addition, UK-based Silence said that it has lowered the headcount at its Berlin, Germany, research facility to 27 from 32, although it noted that the reduction in force “will not affect the company's research and development capabilities … and will not have a material impact on [its] cash position.”

Silence said that it has also completed a variety of changes within its management, and that CEO Philip Haworth, who was based in the US, has resigned. The search for a new, European-based chief executive is underway, and CFO Max Hermann will assume Haworth's duties temporarily until that replacement is found.

Silence also said that it has decided to reduce the number of board members to three from five. As such, member James Topper has stepped down and David U'Prichard has agreed to resign in six months.

The changes at Silence have been on the horizon since the company announced earlier this year that it would reorganize after merger and acquisition negotiations with unnamed suitors fell through (GSN 4/28/2011).

Founded when the UK's SR Pharma acquired Germany's Atugen in 2005, Silence acquired California-based Intradigm in 2009. As a result, the firm had its headquarters in London, its research and development efforts ongoing in Berlin, and its corporate development and intellectual property activities in Redwood City, Calif.

In April however, the company decided it would close the California facility, shed a number of employees, and replace its CEO since “the geographical diversity of the group creates considerable operational difficulties, as well as increased operating costs,” Haworth said at the time.

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