MALVERN, Pa. (AP) _ Cash-strapped Centocor Inc., once considered a budding star in the emerging field of biotechnology, has announced it would lay off an additional 300 employees by year's end.

About one-third of the cuts will come from the pharmaceutical company's research arm, leaving about 175 people in that division.

Company spokesman Richard Koenig said Wednesday the cutbacks would be split between Centocor's plant in Malvern and in Leiden, the Netherlands.

The Malvern headquarters, which had 550 workers a year ago, would be trimmed to about 330 employees by the end of the year.

Centocor's worldwide work force has shrunk from 1,600 to 850 in the past year.

Centocor has been plagued recently by a drug it had developed to fight a deadly bacterial infection. The drug, Centoxin, has not been approved for marketing in the United States, and clinical trials were suspended after a series of unexplained deaths.

''There had been a considerable buildup of the cost structure with the anticipation of the approval of Centoxin,'' Koenig said.

''Of course, the reductions are very unfortunate and painful, but it is something the company needs to do in order to reduce the rate at which it is using up its cash,'' he said.

The company was expected to use up about $25 million of its cash during the first quarter, about half of what it used during the same period last year, Koenig said. But the amount needed to be reduced further, he said.