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In this paper, we introduce a new algorithm for 3-D image reconstruction from cone-beam (CB) projections acquired along a partial circular scan. Our algorithm is based on a novel, exact factorization of the initial 3-D reconstruction problem into a set of independent 2-D inversion problems, each of which corresponds to finding the object density on one, single plane. Any such 2-D inversion problem is solved numerically using a projected steepest descent iteration scheme. We present a numerical evaluation of our factorization algorithm using computer-simulated CB data, without and with noise, of the FORBILD head phantom and of a disk phantom. First, we study quantitatively the impact of the reconstruction parameters on the algorithm performance. Next, we present reconstruction results for visual assessment of the achievable image quality and provide, for comparison, results obtained with two other state-of-the-art reconstruction algorithms for the circular short-scan.