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Infigen Announces Cutbacks; Layoffs

10/19/2005 5:09:47 PM

DeForest, WI, January 23, 2004--Infigen, Inc., the Madison-area biotechnology firm with interests in nuclear transfer cloning of animals for human health applications, announced today that substantially all of the staff will be laid off as a result of funding cutbacks by its collaboration partners, combined with a delay in the granting of expected US government grants. As a result, the company's staff is preparing its offices and labs so that a skeleton staff can monitor expected government funding and other developments. The shut down will include a minimal, part time staff to keep a corporate presence that may permit a restart when government funding is approved. This action affects substantially all the personnel of the company, with the exception of four full-time staff who perform DNA tests for the Agriculture market under the trade name Genmark. These staff members have been contracted to the Genmark business, which was sold in a previously unannounced transaction in 2003, and the staff will become part of the purchasing company's permanent workforce in 2004. Infigen's animal care staff will also remain as the remaining animals are shipped to their owners.

"This is action that is necessitated by the nature of our work," said Walter Simson, CEO of Infigen. "We have a responsibility to assure the care of the animals, and to make sure that our biological materials and samples are properly stored and distributed. At the same time, these actions will not preclude a resumption of our activities, if funding can be obtained."

The cutback is necessitated by the lack of capital. The company has been funding its operations primarily with scientific collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The most important collaboration was with Immerge BioTherapeutics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts company that is performing preclinical research into so-called xenotransplantation, or the study of transplanting cells, tissues or organs from animal sources into humans for therapeutic benefit. Infigen has delivered over 30 miniature swine to Immerge for testing. The swine had been genetically modified so that a component of the pig's cellular make-up, which is toxic to humans, would not be present in those cells. It is hoped that such research would help the 85,000 Americans who are on a waiting list for human organs. Approximately 20 patients per day die while awaiting a human organ from human sources, and the number of such deaths is growing as transplantation needs in the population are increasing. It is hoped that a new source of tissue, from genetically modified swine, will address this great medical need. Infigen estimates that several years' worth of further testing will be required before such a therapeutic use of the swine organs can be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

US government grants have also been an important part of Infigen's funding. One grant, for $800,000 was expected in October, 2003 but has not been received, apparently due to a lack of an approved federal budget. A second grant, for $1 million, was given a very high score by the National Institute of Health, (NIH) which administers these grants. In normal times, this grant would have been expected to start funding in April of 2004, The company hopes that, if the grant is funded, the operations can be started up again. If the startup can not be accomplished, the activities of the staff over the next several weeks, cataloging materials and preparing equipment for storage, will serve the orderly disposal of the company's assets.


Walter Simson 608 846 0573

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