March 12, 2009 / 7:57 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Bellus Health cuts 45 pct of workforce

* Says layoffs will help reduce “burn rate”

* Layoffs and other measures to save C$3.5 mln a year

March 12 (Reuters) - Canada’s Bellus Health Inc (BLU.TO) said it has cut about 45 percent of its workforce to reduce costs and meet a condition to secure additional financing.

The layoffs help reduce the company’s “burn rate”, which is one of the conditions to secure additional financing from Victoria SquareVentures Inc and FMRC Family Trust, which had conditionally committed to buy securities of the company.

The commitments expire on March 23, the company said in a statement.

The job cuts, which are being made primarily in basic research and research-related functions as well as support and administrative functions, and other related measures are expected to save about C$3.5 million ($2.73 million) a year.

Bellus Health said the cuts will not affect its current programs related to its existing product and product candidates.

Last month, the company said it doubts its ability to continue as a going concern beyond the first quarter of 2009 and said it is actively pursuing additional financing.

The company’s stock, which was delisted from Nasdaq in January this year, were down 2.5 Canadian cents at 20 Canadian cents Thursday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

$1=1.281 Canadian Dollar Reporting by R. Manikandan in Bangalore; Editing by Deepak Kannan

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