Biopharmaceutical company

Immune Response

(IMNR)

said a decision to focus work on its possible AIDS vaccine, Remune, has forced the company to restructure and reduce costs. The company said it will lay off more than half its staff and announced the resignation of its CEO.

Immune Response will lay off 28 of 42 full-time employees in its Carlsbad, Calif., headquarters. Essentially, the cutbacks affect all nonmanagement employees not working on Remune. Consequently, the company expects to save $7.2 million annually.

Chief Executive Dennis Carlo resigned on Friday, but will remain a member of Immune Response's board, the company said. Ronald Moss was named the new president. Moss was previously vice president for medical and scientific affairs at Immune Response. A search for a new CEO has been launched.

The company will also add five new full-time employees at its King of Prussia, Pa., office to increase production of Remune.

Shares of Immune Response last traded at 58 cents Friday on the

Nasdaq

.