Metabasis Therapeutics Restructures, Cuts 38 From Staff

1/20/09Follow @bvbigelow

After replacing its CEO last month, San Diego-based Metabasis Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MBRX) says it is laying off 38 employees, or about 43 percent of its workforce. (An update to the San Diego layoff tracker is here.)

“Given the tough market conditions, we have decided to refine our research and development focus and increase our efforts to monetize certain of our assets and/or form strategic collaborations,” CEO Mark Erion said in a statement released by Metabasis. Erion continues to serve as the company’s chief scientific officer after he was named Dec. 15 to replace Paul Laikind as president and CEO. The company closed a Michigan facility in November.

As part of its restructuring, Metabasis plans to focus on its drug candidates for the treatment of hyperlipidemia and type 2 diabetes. Erion says he is optimistic the diabetes drug, MB07803, will result in a strategic collaboration later this year. The company also hopes to establish a collaboration to continue work on its glucagon antagonist program, which aims to develop new drugs that help lower blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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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