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Troubled Trimeris pays consulting executives on hourly basis

According a recent SEC filing, the two top consulting executive positions at Trimeris, the US manufacturer of the injectable AIDS drug Fuzeon, will be paid on an hourly basis for up to another 16 months

According a recent SEC filing, the two top sonsulting executive positions at Trimeris, the US manufacturer of the injectable AIDS drug Fuzeon (enfuvirtide), will be paid on an hourly basis for up to another 16 months.

Two other top positions at the company will be filled on a full-time basis, according to the SEC document filed on 1 August 2007.

The company's stock price has fallen more than 50 per cent since the beginning of 2007 and on 7 August dropped a further USD 0.29 to hit a 52-week low of USD 5.79 a share.

The SEC filing said that the current acting president, Larry Hill, will continue in that role, devoting up to 70 per cent of his time to the position. Hill is a principal in Hickey & Hill, a California consulting firm that works to turn around troubled companies and is charging Trimeris USD 450 an hour for his services under the arrangement.

The company is also charging Trimeris USD 380 an hour for time that Daniel Ratto provides as temporary CFO. Ratto, a consultant with more than 20 years of experience, will also devote up to 70 per cent of his time to the troubled firm.

Ratto has been Trimeris' financial consultant since March 2007, when the board forced the retirements of the company's co-founder and CFO. At the same time, the company pruned an eight-year co-marketing partnership with Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Roche.

According to the filing, the full-time hires are Carol Ohmstede, who will serve as vice-president of alliances and project planning, and Andrew Graham, who will be the company's director of finance. The contracts for all four jobs run out on 31 December 2008.

Trimeris, which instituted a major restructuring in November 2006, reported its first profitable year in 2007 on strong sales of the AIDS drug Fuzeon, introduced in 2003. The company then reported in July that sales of Fuzeon had slowed and that it was trying to revive its sole product.

8th August 2007

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