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Amgen Laying Off About 380 in R&D

Biotech Company Amgen Laying Off About 380 in R&D

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) ? Amgen Inc. said Wednesday that it is laying off about 380 employees in research and development, nearly 6 percent of its research and development staff, as it restructures those operations.

Amgen, the world's largest biotech company by revenue, said the layoffs are targeted to enable the company to better allocate its research and development resources.

Company spokeswoman Christine Regan said the affected employees were notified Wednesday. They work at several Amgen sites in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

Amgen, which is based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., has a total of about 17,600 employees worldwide, including roughly 6,700 in research and development.

In a statement, Amgen said it has experimental drugs moving into expensive, late-stage patient testing so it must shift some R&D resources to invest in the testing and other work related to getting the experimental medicines approved.

Those drugs include OncoVex, for malignant melanoma, and Prolia, an injected drug for preventing bone fractures in women. Amgen now is seeking approval to market Prolia for men.

"Amgen believes this restructuring effort is the appropriate response to the changes in our business environment," the company said in a statement.

Amgen said severance benefits for the employees who were laid off include cash, health insurance and career transition services.

In trading Wednesday, Amgen shares rose 4 cents to $57.32.

The company is scheduled to report its third-quarter results next Monday, after the stock market closes.

Founded in 1980 at the start of the biotechnology industry, Amgen makes biologic drugs ? complex, injected medicines that are "manufactured" by special cells growing in nutrients. Conventional pills and liquid medicines, by comparison, are made by mixing chemicals.

Amgen's top products include Enbrel, for rheumatoid arthritis and skin diseases, and Neulasta and an older version called Neupogen, for preventing infections in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

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Posted: October 2011