THE WOODLANDS, Texas, Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: LXRX) announced today it is focusing its resources on its late-stage drug development programs, principally LX4211 for diabetes and telotristat etiprate (LX1032) for carcinoid syndrome, and preparation for the transition to commercialization. Lexicon will continue to meet its obligations to existing partners and expects to continue to progress its ongoing business development discussions, specifically including those relating to LX4211 for diabetes. Approximately 115 employees, primarily in research, discovery and support positions will depart the company, representing approximately 45% of the company's total workforce. This narrowing of its strategic focus increases Lexicon's financial strength and positions the company for longer-term sustainable growth. Through the resulting staff reductions, Lexicon expects to reduce its expenses by approximately $14 million, net of severance and other costs, for the balance of 2014 and approximately $22 million on an annualized basis. As of September 30, 2013, Lexicon had $151.2 million in cash and investments. "This transition increases Lexicon's financial strength and will enable the company to more effectively advance our key late-stage programs and to prepare for commercialization," said Arthur T. Sands, M.D., Ph.D., Lexicon's president and chief executive officer. "Nevertheless, it is extremely difficult to release many people who have contributed so significantly to the company over the years and who are our friends and colleagues." With the change in focus away from drug discovery and toward the completion of late-stage development and preparation for commercial operations, Dr. Sands has also indicated his intention to develop a succession plan with the board of directors to identify a new chief executive officer for the next phase of Lexicon's growth. The board of directors will be conducting a search for that position, and it is planned that Dr. Sands will continue as chief executive officer until that process is complete.