Rosetta Genomics, a developer and provider of miRNA-based molecular diagnostics, says that it will eliminate 14 positions, or nearly 20% of its global workforce, primarily in R&D and general and administrative positions. In addition, all company employees will move to a four-day workweek with an attendant 20% reduction in salary.
Most of these measures will go into effect immediately. Rosetta Genomics expects to see a 32% reduction in its monthly burn rate and annual operating expenses go down by approximately $4 million. The firm believes it has sufficient cash and cash equivalents to fund operations through March 2011.
“Over the years Rosetta Genomics has invested significantly in the development of our proprietary microRNA technology platform, and today we have a robust portfolio of diagnostic tests on the market, nearing commercial launch, and in development,” remarks Kenneth A. Berlin, president and CEO of Rosetta Genomics.
“We are undertaking these cost-saving measures to ensure that the company has sufficient financial resources to implement its growth strategy through to key inflection points including new product launches, license agreements, and potential partnerships that would provide the company with additional cash infusions,” Berlin continues. “Importantly, these initiatives are not expected to affect the planned launches of our second generation of miRview™ diagnostic tests or to significantly alter the plans for our third-generation of diagnostic products currently in discovery.”
“The company's emphasis on partnering its microRNA platform in both diagnostics and response biomarkers remains steadfast,” Berlin asserts. “Despite the reduction in our workforce, we believe that with the scaled-back workweek we have retained the expertise necessary to carry out our strategic plan and are in a position to quickly scale-up to address new opportunities.”
Founded in 2000, Rosetta Genomics combined bioinformatics and laboratory processes to discover biologically validated novel human miRNAs. It is applying these technologies in the development of miRNA-based diagnostic tools. The company's first three such tests, miRview squamous, miRview mets, and miRview meso, are commercially available through its Philadelphia-based CAP-accredited, CLIA-certified lab.
The advantage of using miRNAs as biomarkers lies in their high tissue specificity and their stability in the most routine preservation methods for biopsies, including formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) block tissue and fine needle aspirate cell blocks. It has been suggested that their small size (19 to 21 nucleotides) enables them to remain intact in FFPE blocks, as opposed to mRNAs, which tend to degrade rapidly.