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Millennium to Lay Off 600, Trim Research

June 06, 2003|From Associated Press

Biotech firm Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., whose cancer drug Velcade was just approved for sale in the United States, said Thursday that it would lay off 600 employees and close two facilities.

One of the facilities is in South San Francisco and employs 210 people.

Millennium spokeswoman Adriana Jenkins said some employees in California may be relocated to the company's headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

The layoffs will reduce the company's workforce from 2,300 to 1,700.

The company said the reductions would come primarily among researchers. Chairman and Chief Executive Mark Levin said in a statement the company needed "to focus more sharply on the most attractive opportunities in our pipeline."

Millennium's flagship product is the heart drug Integrilin, which is co-promoted with Schering-Plough Corp. Velcade was approved earlier this month.

Last year, Millennium lost $590.2 million, or $2.13 a share, compared with $192 million, or 88 cents a share, in 2001.

The company's shares were up 93 cents, or 5.8%, at $17.08 in trading Thursday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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