Genex cuts staff by half, will sell parts of business

November 13, 1990|By Timothy J. Mullaney

Genex Corp. of Gaithersburg said yesterday that it will cut more than half of its staff in an effort to save capital, and also announced that it will sell two major parts of its bioseparations unit to separate buyers.

The move will slash the biotechnology company's payroll to 28 employees from 65. The company announced 14 layoffs earlier this year, spokeswoman Diana Hopkins said.

"We didn't wait until we were down to our last dollar to see the

handwriting on the wall," Ms. Hopkins said. "This is not unique to us. It's all over biotech."

Reed Prior, Genex chief executive, said in a statement that biotechnology companies have had trouble finding fresh capital in recent months. Mr. Prior, who was traveling and unavailable for comment yesterday, said the cuts will help the company stretch its cash resources.

At the end of the second quarter, the company said it had current assets of about $3.5 million, which included a cash reserve of undisclosed size.

The company also said it received in August from investors who own part of Genex a loan of $1.7 million loan designed to boost its working capital.

Genex lost $3.3 million in the first half of 1990. Its third-quarter results are to be released Thursday.

Ms. Hopkins would not disclose the price that Genex is likely to receive for its bioseparations businesses. One of the businesses produces laboratory equipment, and the other makes protein compounds.

Bioseparation allows researchers to screen liquid used in laboratory research for impurities,Ms.Hopkins said.

Genex said the prospective buyers of the business have signed letters of intent to purchase them but haven't reached definitive agreements.

The bioseparations unit has about five employees, she said. None of those employees is included in the layoffs announced yesterday, which Genex said will be implemented over the next several months.

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