UPDATE 1-Columbia Laboratories seeks strategic options

Thu Mar 1, 2012 4:29pm EST

* Cuts 42 pct jobs

* Expects to take $500,000 charge in first quarter

March 1 (Reuters) - Columbia Laboratories reduced its workforce by 42 percent and said it is exploring strategic options, three days after U.S. health regulators declined to approve the company's drug to reduce the risk of premature birth.

Columbia, which develops hormone therapies, cut 10 jobs and said it will record a charge of $500,000 in the first quarter of 2012. It expects savings of about $1.5 million annually from the job cut.

The company said it will provide update on the strategic options on its earnings call on March 8.

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected the drug Prochieve, a vaginal gel that Columbia was developing with Watson Pharmaceuticals, saying the data was not strong enough to support approval.

Shares of Columbia closed at 67 cents on Thursday on the Nasdaq.

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