Amgen cuts 200 jobs in Boulder, Longmont

LONGMONT – About 200 employees at Amgen Colorado will be laid off on April 30 as the company shutters its Epogen anemia drug manufacturing facility.

Amgen workers in Boulder and Longmont involved in manufacturing were notified Thursday, and they will receive severance packages, said Peggy Kraus, a spokeswoman at Amgen Inc. (Nasdaq: AMGN), which is based in Thousand Oaks, California.

The bulk substance of Epogen – named epoetin alfa – is made at the plant in Longmont. It’s shipped to an Amgen plant in Puerto Rico, where it’s made into a final product, Kraus said. The plant in Puerto Rico will remain open, Kraus said.

A remaining Colorado staff of 430 people in Boulder and Longmont will work on process development, quality systems and corporate support functions, Kraus said. Process development is the work done after drug candidate research and development has been completed, but before the drug is manufactured, Kraus said. Colorado employees work on process development for Amgen drug candidates being developed at all company locations, she said.

Amgen’s Colorado employees shuttle between the Boulder and Longmont locations, making it difficult to identify how many will work at each facility after April 30, Kraus said. About 260 employees work at the Boulder plant, Amgen officials have said in the past.

The company announced in August 2012 that it would stop manufacturing the bulk substance of Epogen in Longmont within 12 to 15 months.

Amgen will “idle” its Longmont manufacturing facility – named Building 20, Kraus said. Putting a building in “idle” mode means it could be brought back to full manufacturing capacity more quickly than if the building was completely closed, she said.
Amgen announced fourth-quarter revenue of $5.01 billion, up 13.3 percent over the same period the year before. Year-end earnings for 2013 were $18.7 billion, up 8 percent year-over-year from 2012.

Amgen’s stock was down 97 cents in midday trading Friday at $119.92 per share. The stock has traded in a range between $82.92 and $124.46 in the last year.

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