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OvaScience to reduce workforce, shift focus from fertility treatment

OvaScience Inc. said it was reducing its workforce by 30% as part of a cost-cutting measure that would help extend its cash position into the first quarter of 2019.

The company said it now planned to focus on the development of OvaPrime and OvaTure while slowing commercial expansion and reassessing its ongoing and planned clinical studies of Augment.

The company's president and CEO, Harald Stock, is stepping down from office as a result of the corporate restructuring, and so is COO Paul Chapman. Both of them were appointed to lead the global commercial expansion of Augment, a fertility treatment.

OvaScience executive chair and co-founder Michelle Dipp will oversee operations until a new CEO is hired. "While we have made progress on building the infrastructure to commercialize AUGMENT and remain confident its potential, the near-term financial return has not been sufficient for us to continue to invest at the levels we believe are necessary for a large commercial expansion," Dipp said in a statement.

Augment will still be available for use at partner clinics in Canada and Japan and is planned for entry into the U.S. market.

OvaPrime and OvaTure are also fertility treatments being developed by the company.

The restructuring will cost between $45 million and $50 million to the company in 2017, excluding one-time cash expenses of $7 million to $8 million related to the decision. OvaScience anticipates that even without additional funds, it will be able to support its revised operating plan into the first quarter of 2019.