Two weeks after ending Phase III trials of its lead product, Antril, forsepsis and seeing its stock drop almost 50 percent, Synergen followedthrough on a pledge to reduce expenses quickly by laying off 60percent of its personnel Monday.Of the 375 people who got pink slips, most were in the areas ofmanufacturing, administration and Phase III clinical development,according to Synergen spokeswoman Susan Eustes. The layoffsincluded 340 people in Synergen's Boulder, Colo., headquarters and 35people in Europe and Japan.Among the executive positions eliminated were three vice presidents.The company also shut down its manufacturing plant.The cuts leave Synergen with a staff of 250 and capabilities forresearching and developing products through the Phase II clinical trialstage. The company said it continues to evaluate "strategicalternatives." When the sepsis trials were discontinued SynergenPresident and CEO Gregory Abbott said that among the alternativeswere sale of the company, merger or some other joint venture.Eustes would not comment on any negotiations.On July 18, Synergen said it was ending its development of Antril forsepsis in the U.S. and Europe based on interim Phase III trial data thatshowed a lack of efficacy in the mortality of patients with organdysfunction and shock. The company's stock (NASDAQ:SYGN)dropped $4.37 in one day to $4.50 a share.The closing price Monday was $4.38 a share, down 25 cents.As of June 30, the company said it had $135 million in cash and a burnrate of about $7 million a month. The staff reductions and plant closingare expected to reduce the monthly burn rate to under $3 million. Noother personnel cuts are planned.Synergen is continuing Phase II trials of Antril for rheumatoid arthritis,Phase I trials of tumor necrosis factor binding protein for inflammatorydiseases and preclinical development of glial derived neurotrophicfactor for Parkinson's disease. The company also has a Phase II/III trialof ciliary neutrophic factor for Lou Gehrig's disease under way in ajoint venture with Syntex Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif. _ Charles Craig
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