Metabasis restructures, cuts 30% of workforce

San Diego-based Metabasis said today that it would close its Ann Arbor facility and cut 35 jobs--30 percent of its workforce--in the process. Like so many other small drug developers, Metabasis said the is a move to preserve cash and reduce ongoing expenses. The company will henceforth rely on third party providers to allow greater flexibility in controlling costs. As part of the cuts, Dr. Howard Foyt, vice president, clinical development and Constance Bienfait, vice president, investor relations and corporate communications will leave the company to "pursue other opportunities."

"This action is a very difficult and disappointing necessity given the challenging financial environment under which we are operating. As a result, we have adjusted our strategic objectives including outsourcing certain components of our projects to third parties," said Paul Laikind, president and CEO.

Metabasis has two main clinical programs--MB07811 for high blood pressure and MB07803 for Type 2 diabetes. The company said earlier stage programs may be partnered out so that it can focus on developing the lead drug candidates. During the quarter Metabasis reported promising Phase II results for MB07803; it's also prepping a Phase IIa clinical trial for MB07811 in early 2009.

- see Metabasis' release