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Amgen cuts Seattle operations work force

US biotech Amgen is cutting 50 jobs from its Seattle-based operations, as it seeks to cut costs incurred by its embattled anaemia business

US biotech Amgen is cutting 50 jobs from its Seattle-based operations, as it seeks to cut costs incurred by its embattled anaemia drugs business.

Profits from Amgen's anaemia products were hit when the FDA became concerned about the safety of two of the company's top-selling therapies, Aranesp and Epogen. Both drugs now have stronger warnings on drug labels and no longer receive health insurance reimbursements.

The axed jobs were from a variety of functions across the organisation, according to an Amgen spokesperson. The affected employees, who left the company this past week, will receive a minimum 24 weeks of severance pay, continued healthcare coverage and career advice.

Amgen employed approximately 1,100 people in Seattle, before it announced it would cut spending and eliminate up to 2,600 jobs out of its 20,000-strong global work force.

While some local employees have voluntarily quit the firm, Amgen has not specified how many had left. About 700 employees in the US and Puerto Rico have taken voluntary redundancy, according to Amgen.

The job losses represent less than five per cent of the total work force in Seattle, compared with the planned companywide reduction of 12 to 14 per cent.

Local media reports in July 2007 suggested that Amgen had reigned in the expansion of its Helix campus, but Amgen has neither confirmed nor denied these reports.

On 12 October, Amgen's shares closed at USD 58.17, or 23 per cent under peak share valuations recorded back in October 2006.

30th September 2008

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