Amgen Announces Layoffs

Biotechnology company cutting 450 Rhode Island jobs and 675 at the company's headquarters in California.

WEST GREENWICH, R.I. (AP) — Amgen Inc. says it will lay off about 450 of its 1,600 Rhode Island employees, as part of a broader effort by the biotechnology company to trim staff and cut costs.
 
The layoffs at the company's West Greenwich plant are planned for early November. The job cuts were announced Monday, along with planned layoffs of 675 employees at the company's headquarters in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
 
Amgen spokesman Larry Bernard said the Rhode Island staff was notified that 1,500 employees nationwide would be laid off by November.
 
Amgen last month said it would cut up to 14 percent of its global work force following weaker than expected sales of its anemia drug Aranesp. Safety concerns and caps on Medicare oncology reimbursements have contributed to a drop in sales.
 
As part of the restructuring plan, Amgen chief executive Kevin Sharer has decided to close one of the state's two manufacturing plants, both of which operate 24 hours a day. Amgen produces Enbrel, a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, in Rhode Island.
 
But Bernard said the layoffs would not be limited to manufacturing jobs.
 
''All of the quality manufacturing scientific jobs, all of the trade jobs, all of the support and administrative functions are all impacted,'' he said. ''There isn't a single department where this is concentrated. It's spread out across the site.''
 
The layoffs come as Rhode Island aggressively tries to attract biotech jobs.
 
''It's not a commentary on Rhode Island's business climate,'' said Saul Kaplan, the state's top economic development official. ''We will weather this.''
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