Sequenom to Slash 20 Percent of Workforce, Divest North Carolina Operations

Published: Jan 08, 2016

Sequenom to Slash 20 Percent of Workforce, Divest North Carolina Operations
January 8, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

SAN DIEGO – Sequenom, Inc. plans to cut 110 employees and divest its North Carolina operations as part of an effort to “sharpen the company's focus on its core women's health business, reduce its operating costs and optimize its organizational structure and processes,” the company announced Thursday.

Sequenom’s stock was down this morning, hitting a low of $1.38 per share following the announcement. The job reductions will slash Sequenom’s total workforce by about 20 percent. Before the cuts, Sequenom employed approximately 500 people.

In a statement Dirk van den Boom, president and chief executive officer of Sequenom, said the company expects the moves to “achieve higher levels of near-term performance while still allowing us to pursue our longer-term potential." The company will focus its R&D programs on broadening the portfolio with tests serving obstetricians, gynecologists and maternal fetal medicine specialists, and expand its presence in the obstetrics and gynecology sales channel to better serve average risk and high risk pregnancies seen by these physicians. Van den Boom touted the company’s portfolio of products for noninvasive prenatal applications, including the MaterniT GENOME laboratory-developed test.

Sequenom’s North Carolina facility, located in the thriving Research Triangle Park area, is a clinical genomic laboratory for processing noninvasive prenatal tests and other reproductive health tests. Operations currently conducted in North Carolina will be consolidated in San Diego throughout the first half of 2016, the company said.

“In making the difficult decision to sell our North Carolina facility, we are working hard to find a buyer that may be able to employ some or all of our team, thereby minimizing the effect on our employees and their families," van den Boom said.

As a result of the restructuring program, Sequenom has increased its previously announced expected cost savings of over $10 million annually to an annualized cost savings anticipated to exceed $20 million in late 2016, once all reductions are fully implemented.

In addition to the layoffs and sale of its North Carolina site, Sequenom said it is also seeking “strategic partners” for the commercialization of its oncology liquid biopsy assay. Van den Boom said the company has advanced the technology and created the most “comprehensive circulating tumor DNA profiling assay, which has multiple applications.”

Van den Boom was tapped as the company’s CEO in December after serving as interim CEO since September. He joined Sequenom in 1998 and has served in various management roles within Sequenom's R&D department. Most recently, he served as the company's chief scientific and strategy officer.

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