Metabasis Closes Satellite Office in Michigan and Lays Off 35 People

11/13/08Follow @bvbigelow

In a move to preserve cash and reduce expenses, San Diego’s Metabasis (NASDAQ: MBRX) announced plans to close its facility in Ann Arbor, MI, and eliminate about 35 jobs there, almost a third of the company’s staff. After the cutbacks, the company will have about 90 employees.

The biotech, which is developing novel small molecule drugs for treating high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes, also noted two San Diego executives will leave the company as part of the cuts. They are Dr. Howard Foyt, vice president for clinical development, and Connie Bienfait, vice president for investor relations and corporate communications.

Metabasis CEO Paul Laikind called the cutbacks “a very difficult and disappointing necessity.” He says the company has adjusted its strategic objectives, including outsourcing some work to third parties. Metabasis also may pursue partnerships “on certain programs at an earlier stage of development than originally planned.”

Metabasis said most of the costs associated with the cutbacks would be recognized in the fourth quarter, and the company anticipates incurring restructuring charges of approximately $1.7 million. Most of that was associated with the layoffs.

The company disclosed the cutbacks as part of its third quarter financial results, which showed Metabasis has $32.8 million in available cash to fund its ongoing operations at the end of September. It didn’t say how long its cash will last, but it used about $10 million of those reserves to fund operations in the first nine months of the year.

We’ve updated the San Diego layoffs tracker with this news. The full list is here.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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