January 1, 1998

Amgen to halt construction of new building in Boulder

BOULDER — Amgen Inc. is halting work on its new building at 3625 Walnut St. as soon as the shell and core are completed, an Amgen spokeswoman has confirmed.

Although selling the 66,000-square-foot, two-story building has not been ruled out, Amgen has not made any plans yet, said Lynne Henderson, an Amgen spokeswoman based in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Shell construction is expected to be complete in February or March, said Andy Fiamengo, division business development manager for Taylor Ball Construction.

The biotechnology giant in early September announced it was looking for a financial partner for its inflammation research and development program, based in Boulder. Until such a partner can be found, the company’s plans are on hold for the building, Henderson said.

“It really depends on the partnership that’s there. They may decide to keep the building, they may decide to sell the building,” Henderson said.

Several companies have inquired about partnering arrangements, said David Kaye, an Amgen spokesman, although he declined to name them. And construction of a manufacturing facility and administration building in Longmont has not been affected by decisions in Boulder, Kaye said.

However, a recent federal ruling on kidney dialysis, which may cut the amount of Epogen used nationally, may affect the Longmont plant in the future, Kaye said. The new, $200 million plant scheduled for completion in 1998, with FDA approval in 1999, is expected to manufacture Epogen, which stimulates red blood cell growth. The ruling calls for kidney dialysis patients reimbursed by federal payments to have higher red blood cell counts than those needed before to be eligible for the drug, “which could potentially reduce demand for Epogen in some patients, but not all,” Kaye said.

“We’re not stopping construction, we’re not slowing down construction. It may not be as big a plant, but it’s modular for making multiple products,” Kaye said. “It’s not having any appreciable impact on the initial phase.”

At the same time, Amgen has 11 drugs in the human trial test phase, traditionally the final trials required before Food and Drug Administration approval.

“We’re in the midst of transitioning from a very successful two-product company to a multi-product company,” Kaye said. “Obviously, we have to be able to manufacture the drugs in trials and have them available once the drugs come to market, so we want to be flexible between the Thousand Oaks, (Calif.), Boulder and Longmont sites to have capacity some place.”

Infergen, a drug to treat Hepatitis C, was approved by the FDA two months ago. It’s currently manufactured in Thousand Oaks. Stemgen, expected to be approved in the latter part of next year to treat cancer chemotherapy patients, is also slated for manufacture in California.

Leptin, an anti-obesity drug currently in clinical trials, also may be manufactured in Longmont.

“Amgen is better than most companies at moving things quickly,” Kaye said. “Some of these other drugs are for more diseases that are far more complex neuro-diseases and obesity, and we have to show a long-term benefit. But all the other drugs are making clinical progress.”

BOULDER — Amgen Inc. is halting work on its new building at 3625 Walnut St. as soon as the shell and core are completed, an Amgen spokeswoman has confirmed.

Although selling the 66,000-square-foot, two-story building has not been ruled out, Amgen has not made any plans yet, said Lynne Henderson, an Amgen spokeswoman based in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Shell construction is expected to be complete in February or March, said Andy Fiamengo, division business development manager for Taylor Ball Construction.

The biotechnology giant in early September announced it was looking for…

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