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Amylin Lays Off 60 For Efficiency

Amylin Lays Off 60 For Efficiency [The San Diego Union-Tribune]


From San Diego Union-Tribune (CA) (June 19, 2010)


Jun. 19--San Diego drug maker Amylin Pharmaceuticals has laid off about 60 employees, or 4 percent of its workforce, in recent weeks as part of an effort to make the company more efficient, a spokeswoman said Friday.

The cuts occurred in a variety of departments, including research, said Alice Izzo, vice president of corporate affairs. As a result, Amylin now will rely more heavily on outside sources for new pharmaceutical discoveries, she said.

"Our commitment to research is not changed," Izzo said. "It’s just a matter of how we source that innovation. ... We believe there are lots of opportunities to work with organizations around the globe."

Amylin’s remaining researchers will continue to work on treatments that are in various stages of testing. That includes an experimental weekly version of Byetta, the company’s well-established injected treatment for Type 2 diabetes.

The new version of the drug, known as Bydureon, has faced several delays along its way to a final review by the Food and Drug Administration. The federal agency is expected to make a decision on the treatment by Oct. 22.

The layoffs occurred in "a few discrete functions at Amylin," Izzo said.

"The changes were not a broad-based, cost-cutting measure, but they are a business reality that we must accept in order to ensure the success and sustainability of Amylin," she said.

Senior executives told stock analysts in April that the company was on track to deliver a revenue stream that consistently tops operating expenses by the end of the year. That development would lead to overall profitability in 2011 for the first time in the company’s history, they said.

Amylin has cut its global workforce by one-third in recent years through a series of layoffs.

In November 2008, the company eliminated 340 jobs worldwide after falling sales of Byetta due to increasing competition from other treatments. Six months later, a restructuring of the company’s sales team resulted in an additional 200 layoffs.

On Friday, shares of Amylin rose $3.29, or 20 percent, to close at $19.80.

Analysts credited the performance to news concerning a competitive drug maker, Roche Holding, which reported a delay of at least a year to develop its experimental diabetes drug taspoglutide because of troublesome side effects that surfaced in clinical trials.

The Roche drug is a one-weekly injection that is expected to compete against the Amylin treatment when the medications reach the market.

Keith Darce: (619) 293-1020; keith.darce@uniontrib.com. Follow on Twitter at @keithdarce.

To see more of the San Diego Union-Tribune or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.signonsandiego.com/.

Copyright (c) 2010, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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Posted: June 2010


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