Sequenom said today it will cut 110 positions—about 20% of its 500 filled and authorized positions—as well as sell its operations within North Carolina’s Research Ttriangle Park and find partners for its non-core assets.

The moves are part of a companywide restructuring that Sequenom said are intended to focus more efforts on its core women's health business, as well as reduce operating costs, improve laboratory efficiency and boost organizational effectiveness.

“We believe these changes will position Sequenom to achieve higher levels of near-term performance while still allowing us to pursue our longer-term potential,” Dirk van den Boom, the company’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

He cited as assets Sequenom’s portfolio of products for noninvasive prenatal applications, its new MaterniT® GENOME laboratory-developed test, its experienced sales force, and its increased focus on serving physicians addressing average risk pregnancies.

“Because these advantages are considerable, it is essential for us to concentrate our resources on making the most of our opportunities in women's health,” van den Boom said.

He added that Sequenom will focus its R&D programs on broadening its portfolio with tests serving obstetricians, gynecologists and maternal fetal medicine specialists. The company aims to expand its presence among obstetrics and gynecology physicians by concentrating on tests for average risk and high risk pregnancies.

At Research Triangle Park, a site opened in 2013, Sequenom maintains a clinical genomic laboratory for processing noninvasive prenatal tests and other reproductive health tests. Last year operations in Grand Rapids, MI, were consolidated at RTP.

Operations now in North Carolina will be consolidated in San Diego throughout the first half of 2016, the company said.

“We are working hard to find a buyer that may be able to employ some or all of our team, thereby minimizing the effect on our employees and their families,” van den Boom said.

Sequenom also said it will pursue strategic partners for the commercialization of its oncology liquid biopsy assay, while reducing R&D spending. The company said it is seeking partners with clinical expertise and a distribution presence in markets relevant to its tests.

The restructuring will enable Sequenom to double its previously announced expected cost savings of over $10 million annually, to more than $20 million in late 2016, once all cuts are fully implemented. The company said it plans to reduce its cost of revenues and operating expenses, primarily in R&D and general and administrative functions.

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