Strapped for cash, the Bothell company has closed its Plexera Bioscience subsidiary.

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Lumera, the Bothell optic-communications company, scrapped its life-science-tools subsidiary Thursday and announced a merger agreement with GigOptix.

Lumera’s board determined that it does not have enough cash to continue running Plexera Bioscience and is focusing instead on its optics business. As a result, 23 people from the subsidiary and six corporate employees lost their jobs, company representatives said. About 30 people remain with Lumera.

In a bid to strengthen its position in the business of improving fiber- and satellite-network operations, Lumera negotiated a merger agreement with GigOptix. The privately held company makes semiconductors that perform a complementary function. Lumera’s board and GigOptix private investors see opportunities to combine the technologies.

The two companies target many of the same customers in telecommunications, consumer electronics and private networking. GigOptix has customers and expects to generate sales of $4.2 million in the first half of this year. Lumera gets most of its revenue, expected to be about $1.8 million in the first half, from government research projects.

The combined company, which will be known as GigOptix Inc., would be led by GigOptix CEO Avi Katz, with headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., where GigOptix is based. The future size of the Bothell operation has not been determined.

As part of the merger — subject to shareholder and regulatory approval — Lumera would issue about 20 million shares of stock to GigOptix employees and others resulting in a combined company with about 40 million shares outstanding. GigOptix’ biggest shareholder, DBSI, will be the largest shareholder of the combined company.

Lumera shares gained about 12 cents, 5.8 percent, in after-hours trading on the Nasdaq to close at $2.19. The company plans a conference call to discuss the merger at 7 a.m. today.

Benjamin J. Romano: 206-464-2149 or bromano@seattletimes.com