Amgen Confirms 380 Layoffs in R&D; Cuts Coming to Seattle, SF, Boston

10/19/11Follow @xconomy

Word came out of Amgen last week that it was looking to overhaul its R&D operations, and today the biotech giant confirmed the overhaul is translating into job cuts for 380 people across the company.

Thousand Oaks, CA-based Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) notified 380 employees internally today that their jobs are being eliminated as part of the company’s effort to improve focus and re-allocate R&D resources, according to company spokeswoman Mary Klem. Amgen isn’t closing any of its research sites around the world, but people are being laid off at its major U.S. R&D sites in Thousand Oaks, Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston, Klem says.

No sites are being closed, and Amgen isn’t eliminating any therapeutic areas from its research portfolio, she says. Amgen plans to discuss the cuts in some more detail next Monday on its quarterly financial conference call, she says.

“We will continue to invest significantly in R&D,” Klem says. But she added the company needs to shift resources around to support more expensive late-stage development projects. “We will continue to allocate resources in a focused manner,” she says.

Amgen generated about $15.1 billion in revenue last year, and spent what’s generally considered a healthy 19 percent proportion of that revenue ($2.9 billion) on R&D. The company is actively pushing the biggest new innovations from its internal pipeline in years—denosumab, marketed for osteoporosis patients as Prolia, and for cancer-related bone loss as Xgeva. The company has had as many as 20,000 employees in the past, but its latest worldwide headcount is down to about 17,000, according to a recent company fact sheet.

Amgen’s full-year profit was $5.02 billion in 2010, essentially flat compared to $5.01 billion the prior year. In the most recent quarterly report, Amgen said its profits declined about 3 percent compared with the same period a year ago.

Klem didn’t say how much the company expects to save by making the cutbacks.

Here’s the breakdown of job losses at each major Amgen site, according to Klem.

—Thousand Oaks, CA (226)

—Seattle/Bothell, WA (69)

—South San Francisco (37)

—Cambridge, and Woburn, MA (32)

—United Kingdom (the remainder, about 15)

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  • David

    I doubt this will be the last of it. It is the new world for biopharma companies. It’s easier now to let others risk the capital with small ventures and just buy promising compounds that emerge. The days of creating rewarding long-term careers for talented people in discovery and early dev is over.