Ligand slashes staff in restructuring effort

In an effort to transform itself into an R&D focused biotech company, Ligand Pharmaceuticals has announced that it is cutting about three out of every four of its remaining workers. The move will reduce its workforce to 85 employees from the 352 on payroll several months ago. Senior execs including its CFO are on the way out and Ligand will shutter its U.K. operation. New CEO John Higgins says the move is difficult, but the company needs to restructure, reducing annual expenses by $20 million to $22 million. The changes are being driven by Third Point, a hedge fund that acquired a major stake in Ligand following a financial scandal that forced the company to restate its financial reports. Ligand sold its approved drugs last summer for $470 million along with an ongoing stream of royalties. Ligand says it will fit into one facility after the restructuring, allowing it to sublet the remaining space.

- see Ligand's press release on the cuts
- read the report from the San Diego Union Tribune

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