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Sequenom Posts Loss; CEO Schuh Leaves

San Diego-based biotech firm Sequenom Inc. said it decreased its net loss for the fiscal 2004 to $34.6 million, or 87 cents a share, from $36.7 million, or 93 cents, a year ago.

The company released earnings Feb. 10, two days after it announced the departure of its chief executive, Antonius Schuh.

The net loss for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31 included a $2.3 million restructuring charge, Sequenom said in a written statement.

As of Dec. 31, the firm had $37.9 million in cash.

Last year’s revenues fell to $22.4 million from $30.3 million in fiscal 2003 as the firm refocused its marketing efforts from high throughput genotyping to clinical research, Sequenom said.

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This year, Sequenom plans to focus on doing research in genetic cancer and prenatal diagnostics using its gene screening technology.

Schuh, who has been Sequenom’s president and chief executive officer for four years, resigned Feb. 8.

The decision was made in agreement with the company’s board of directors, Sequenom said.

Stephen L. Zaniboni, the company’s chief financial officer, was named acting chief executive officer while the firm searches for a new leader.

Schuh agreed to stay on as a consultant for up to a year.

The German-born pharmacist and doctor in medicinal chemistry first joined Sequenom in 1995 when it was still a start-up in Hamburg, Germany.

Schuh was instrumental in getting the firm’s U.S. operations in San Diego off the ground.

In 1998, Schuh moved to Sequenom’s San Diego headquarters to serve as executive vice president of business development and was named president and CEO in May 2000.

He led Sequenom’s $238 million buyout of London-based Gemini Genomics Plc. to expand the firm’s genomics service and product offerings, and the acquisition of San Diego-based Axiom Biotechnologies Inc., Sequenom said.

Harry Hixson, the board’s chairman, praised Schuh for his “many contributions and wished him well in his future endeavors.”

Sequenom shares, which trade on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange under the symbol SQNM, closed at $1.42 on Feb. 9, and were trading in the $1.31 to $1.44 range on Feb. 10.

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