Joining the restructuring club, Genome Therapeutics Corp. said it is implementing a plan to reduce early stage target discovery research and general administrative expenses in order to decrease its spending, a move that includes cutting 17 percent of its staff.

Genome Therapeutics, of Waltham, Mass., said the reduction in research as well as severing 34 full-time staff positions is expected to save the company about $6 million annually and will result in a one-time charge in the third quarter of $375,000.

The company said the reduction puts in place its strategy to focus on aspects of its business that generate revenue or have the potential to do so in the near term. Ramoplanin, Genome Therapeutics' anti-infective product in Phase III trials for the prevention of bloodstream infections caused by vancomycin-resistant enterococci, has the potential to do just that, and the company said the staff reduction would not impact the resources available for advancing Ramoplanin.

In March, Genome Therapeutics raised $15 million through the sale of convertible debentures to two institutional investors. At the time it said the funds would be used to cover expenses for Ramoplanin's Phase III program. Holders of the debentures had an option to convert them into shares of stock at $8 per share. (See BioWorld Today, March 7, 2002.)

As of June 29, the company had cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and investments of about $67.3 million. For the second quarter, it lost $8.3 million, or 36 cents per share. For the first six months of the year, it posted a net loss of $15.1 million. It said it expects to lose between $30 million and $35 million for the year on revenues of between $23 million and $28 million.

Genome Therapeutics' stock (NASDAQ:GENE) fell 4 cents Wednesday to close at $1.59.