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Deltagen to sell its S.L. subsidiary

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California-based Deltagen Inc. announced Monday that it will lay off about 100 employees and sell its Salt Lake and Strasbourg, France, subsidiaries.

Following a round of layoffs in October and the biotechnology company's most recent job cuts, the company will have reduced its total head count to roughly 200 from 433, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The layoffs will affect primarily research and development positions.

In July 2001, Deltagen acquired its Salt Lake operation, formerly known as Arcaris Inc.

Company officials did not immediately respond to inquiries regarding the number of employees affected in Salt Lake City.

Monday's actions are expected to decrease the company's ongoing cash expenses by approximately $35 million to $38 million in 2003, helping stave off significant financial losses the company has experienced since its inception in 1997, according to the SEC filing.

The company had an accumulated deficit of more than $185.3 million as of Sept. 30.

The company plans to consolidate its operations to its Redwood City, Calif., headquarters. If no buyers can

be found for its Utah and France subsidiaries, both locations will be closed, the filing said.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, Deltagen reported $4.4 million in revenue with a net loss of $48.2 million compared to $2.3 million in revenue and a $14.6 million net loss the same period a year earlier.

Deltagen develops technology that analyzes genetic information and "knockout" mice — where a targeted gene function is deleted in order to test new drugs.

"We believe that focusing on the sale of drug discovery tools and services will enable the company to achieve significant revenue growth in 2003 and significantly reduce expenses while moving toward cash flow break even by the end of 2003," said Constantine Anagnostopoulos, Deltagen's chairman, in a prepared statement. "Our realignment will strengthen our commitments and expand our offerings to current customers."

Shares of Deltagen in early trading Tuesday were up 4 cents at 58 cents on the Nasdaq stock market.


E-mail: danderton@desnews.com