Acusphere (Watertown, Massachusetts) reported that it has laid off 24 people, or about 24% of its workforce, and is reducing salaries to trim costs and preserve dwindling cash reserves.

The layoffs leave the company with 77 employees.

All senior management at the vice president level and above will also take salary reductions of 10% or more as of Aug. 1 the company said.

Acusphere estimates the measures will save about $2.1 million. The goal is to decrease operating costs as the company waits for FDA approval of Imagify, its new imaging agent.

The company estimates the FDA will make a decision on Imagify, by Feb. 28, 2009. But said it has about $12 million in cash and investments left. With the reductions made, the company said its reserves should last "well into the fourth quarter of this year."

Acusphere president and CEO Sherri Oberg said in a statement that the "extremely difficult" decision to make the cuts will help the company last until the FDA approval and improve its prospects for financing on more favorable terms once the FDA issues a decision.

The company won a $2 million loan from the MassDevelopment Emerging Technology Fund in 2004, which was used to help build out its 58,000-square foot manufacturing facility in Tewksbury.

Earlier this month Acusphere received a notice that it might be delisted from the Nasdaq Global Market because it hasn't been able to boost its stock price to the minimum $1 per share.

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