UPDATE 1-Memory Pharma to cut 55 pct jobs, replace CFO

Wed Sep 17, 2008 5:35pm EDT

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Sept 17 (Reuters) - Memory Pharmaceuticals Corp MEMY.O said it will reduce its workforce by about 55 percent to cut costs and said Chief Financial Officer James Sulat will be replaced by Michael Smith.

The company, which did not give a specific reason for Sulat's replacement, said about half the job cuts are effective immediately, while the remainder will be eliminated over the next six months.

The biopharmaceutical company also said it was expanding its mid-stage development program of MEM 3454 in cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia (CIAS) with Roche AG (ROG.VX).

The company said it agreed to expand the study to allow the target number of patients enrolled in the trial to increase up to 212.

It added that Roche will accelerate a portion of the $17 million payment related to the completion of the mid-stage CIAS trial. The remaining $8.5 million payment will be due 30 days after availability of top-line data, which is expected in the second quarter of 2009.

Memory Pharmaceuticals has said it is studying MEM 3454, its experimental drug candidate, for Alzheimer's disease.

Shares of Memory Pharmaceuticals closed down 3 cents at 26 cents Wednesday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Anuradha Ramanathan in Bangalore; Editing by Pratish Narayanan)

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