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Hollis-Eden Lays Off One-Third in “Aggressive” Cost-Cutting

San Diego’s Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: HEPH) said today it’s laying off 20 employees—a third of its workforce—as part of an aggressive cost-cutting plan to preserve capital until 2011. The San Diego layoff tracker has been updated here.

Hollis-Eden specializes in developing small molecule compounds based on adrenal steroid hormones and that are intended to restore cellular signaling pathways disrupted by disease and aging.

Citing current economic and industry conditions, the biotech says it is also freezing salaries and suspending bonuses for all employees, including founding chairman and CEO Richard B. Hollis and other senior executives. The biotech is undertaking the measures to concentrate its remaining resources on advancing development of two drugs currently in clinical trials. One is Triolex (HE3286) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis. The other is Apoptone (HE3235) in developed to treat late-state prostate cancer.

In a statement released today, Hollis-Eden says it has no debt and expects “the cost-cutting measures being taken will allow the Company to continue to fund operations for approximately two years without reliance on the equity markets.” The company’s statement included a comment from CEO Hollis that concluded, “While taking these measures is never easy, today’s difficult economic climate and tough market conditions for our industry make such actions unavoidable and necessary.”