Belfast Telegraph

Amgen reports bumper results... then wields job axe

By Staff Reporter

Biologic drug-maker Amgen is to shed 12% to 15% of its worldwide workforce and close four sites, despite reporting stellar second-quarter results that trounced Wall Street expectations.

Amgen, which has more than 500 staff working at its UK sites in Cambridge and Uxbridge, and in Dublin, also raised its forecasts for its 2014 profit and revenue, driving up its shares.

The maker of Prolia for osteoporosis and anaemia treatment Aranesp said it was restructuring to free up money needed for investments in the business, particularly marketing and other costs for launching new drugs.

The job losses will happen this year and in 2015, eliminating 2,400 to 2,900 of its 20,000 jobs, mostly in the US.

Amgen is the world's biggest maker of biologic drugs, which are produced in living cells, rather than by mixing chemicals, as traditional pills are made.

Its international development programme is co-ordinated from the UK, involving patients from across Europe, according to the firm's website.

The company plans to close two sites in Washington state and two in Colorado and is investing in the latest technology elsewhere.

It said it would streamline the company, reduce management layers and reduce its property footprint by 23%. The company anticipates charges of $775-950m (£458-£562m) for closures and severance, mostly in 2014 and 2015.

It expects modest 2015 savings, but expense reductions in 2016 of about $700m (£414m), versus 2013 spending.

Research head, Sean Harper, said: "We have an unprecedented number of late-stage programmes rolling through at the moment."

Amgen is awaiting US approval for its chronic heart failure medicine, ivabradine, and its advanced melanoma drug, talimogene laherparepvec.

It plans to apply in this quarter for US and EU approval of evolocumab, for abnormal levels of blood fats such as cholesterol.

It is targeting the second half of the year to apply for US approval of blinatumomab, for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia that has relapsed or not responded to prior treatment.

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