Pharma, R&D

Amgen is shaking up R&D (again), chopping 200 as Genentech targets 130 layoffs

Two biotech giants — Amgen and Genentech — are laying off a combined 330 people at California facilities, both citing “organizational changes” as the primary reason for the cuts.

Amgen is shaking up its R&D department, eliminating 200 positions at its Thousand Oaks, CA and South San Francisco facilities by the end of this year, STAT reported Saturday. An Amgen spokesperson tells me the company is making organizational changes across the globe in regards to its R&D departments. This round of layoffs, however, mostly impacts facilities in California.

“Given the dynamic nature of our business and the need to ensure greater flexibility across our organization, we must continue to be increasingly efficient in our operational discipline and invest our resources in a way that ensures our continued scientific leadership,” the spokesperson said in an email. “The organizational changes last week are designed to support those efforts. As always, in making these difficult decisions we are committed to treating our staff with respect and compassion.”

It’s not the first big headcount cut Amgen’s made this year. In March, the company relocated, reassigned, and cut about 500 jobs in Thousand Oaks. The restructuring included 100 employees moving to research centers in Cambridge and South San Francisco, and 50 jobs relocated to Amgen’s new Tampa center.

That move comes 8 months after Amgen CEO Bob Bradway turned up at the White House boasting to President Donald Trump that the company will hire 1,600 staffers this year. The job cuts were not part of that forecast.

For Genentech, the layoffs are concentrated at its Vacaville, CA manufacturing facility, where about 1,000 people are employed. Genentech (owned by Roche) is cutting 130 positions.

In the prepared statement distributed to The Vacaville Reporter, Genentech officials said the layoffs follow a “detailed operational analysis.”

“We have made the difficult decision to implement organizational changes,” the statement reads. “We are making this change in response to current and anticipated production requirements, the volumes required for some of our new medicine formulations, and shift schedule adjustments.”

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