Restructuring is expected to save $5.5 milion annually.

EpiCept is stopping all drug discovery operations and will reduce its workforce by about 65%. The firm will direct its resources toward the registration of Ceplene®, its drug for acute myeloid leukemia, in North America and clinical development programs. When complete, these actions are expected to reduce annual expenses by at least $5.5 million.

Under the workforce-reduction plan, most of the affected positions will be eliminated immediately and the remainder will be eliminated over the next three to six months. The company expects to incur a one-time charge during the first quarter of 2009 of approximately $2.5 million in connection with the closing of the San Diego facility.

EpiCept plans to offer its ASAP drug discovery technology for sale or partnering to an interested party. This live cell high-throughput caspase-3 screening platform can identify new cancer drug candidates and molecular targets that selectively induce apoptosis in cancer cells.

“This is a difficult decision and is largely attributable to the current financing environment, but in taking these actions we will help ensure that EpiCept has the resources to execute our development strategies for our most advanced opportunities,” states Jack Talley, president and CEO of EpiCept.

“We are currently focused on partnering Ceplene in Europe and pursuing regulatory approval of Ceplene in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, we look forward to advancing our other drug candidates through key clinical trials, such as our Phase Ib development program for EPC 2407 in patients with advanced solid tumors and lymphomas.”

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