Targacept cutting 65 jobs in Winston-Salem

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Targacept, a clinical biopharmaceutical company based in Winston-Salem, announced Wednesday that it will be cutting its workforce by 65 employees.

In a news release, company officials said the reduction in workers will be part of a strategic plan to “focus the company’s resources on its clinical programs and select preclinical opportunities.”

The 65 jobs that will be eliminated represent 46 percent of the company’s workforce, officials said.

Officials said the move will save the company an estimated $12.9 million in operating expenses each year.

The cost of “restructuring” and one-time severance packages will add up to an estimated $2.4 million this year, officials said.

J. Donald deBethizy, President and CEO of Targacept, released the following statement with the announcement:

“It is extremely difficult to make a business decision that will have such an impact on many talented and dedicated colleagues and their families.  I want to convey my utmost gratitude to the employees who will be leaving Targacept for their many contributions to the company.  This painful step is part of an overall plan to align our resources more closely with nearer-term value creation opportunities.  We remain well capitalized and focused on operating our business efficiently to ensure we are positioned to exploit our diverse clinical-stage pipeline to bring new medicines to patients.”

The company plans to release more details about its financial statistics during a news conference slated for May 3.