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AllTranz, a specialty pharmaceutical company headquartered in Lexington, has been awarded $4 million from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to advance its transdermal tetrahydrocannabinoil patch for the treatment of marijuana dependence and withdrawal. AllTranz CSO and founder and UK pharmacy researcher Audra Stinchcomb is currently in preclinical development for a planned Phase I clinical study. The company is also developing a patch for other indications, including cancer chemotherapy nausea and vomiting, AIDS patient appetite stimulation and multiple sclerosis pain.

The Lexington Herald-Leader has announced its third round of layoffs in the last 12 months in an effort to further cut costs. The layoff affects eight employees in the news, advertising and operations divisions as well eight jobs in the finance division that have been outsourced. In addition, some remaining employees will see their hours cut and the majority of employees will be required to take a week-long unpaid furlough.

Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals Inc., a Lexington-based company that creates genetically modified laboratory rats for medical research, has entered into a global marketing and distribution agreement with Taconic, a major animal model and service provider. Under the agreement, Taconic will market Transposagen’s animals through its existing distribution channels and customer relationships and deliver Transposagen’s TKOTM Knockout Rat Models to pharmaceutical and biotechnology researchers around the world. Knockout rats are pharmaceutical research models with a single gene disruption that mimics human diseases.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Trane, a global manufacturer of commercial and residential heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, has laid off 140 employees at its Lexington plant, where it employs approximately 1,300 workers. Tom Coffey, president of the United Auto Workers Local 912, told the newspaper that the cuts were directly related to the downturn in the construction industry and said he was hopeful that the employees would be hired back when the economy rebounds.

Verizon is closing its Lexington call center, leaving some 250 workers without jobs, according to a local report by The Lexington Herald-Leader. A company spokesman said the decision to close the facility was primarily the result of reduced call volume at the center, which handles directory assistance. Company officials pointed to the fact that more customers are now using free Internet sites or free directory assistance options rather than calling Verizon’s directory assistance.