Real estate, Workforce

Amgen triggers yet another revamp, moving researchers to two big hubs

Amgen CEO Bob Bradway

Amgen is once again restructuring its operations with plans to relocate, reassign or ax about 500 jobs at its Thousand Oaks, CA headquarters. The moves include about 100 who are being relocated to research centers in Cambridge, MA or South San Francisco.

The R&D part of this revamp includes staffers at Amgen’s discovery research and translational sciences department. And, separately, about 50 jobs will be relocated to Tampa, where Amgen is opening up a major new capability center with 450 jobs.

“Just over 100 individuals in Discovery Research and Translational Sciences will be impacted by organizational changes,” Amgen spokesperson Kristen Davis tells me via email. “We have offered relocation opportunities to some staff members from Thousand Oaks to San Francisco or Cambridge. Others will continue to be employed by Amgen for varying lengths of time while we make this transition. Impacted staff eligible to apply for roles within Amgen may do so.”

She adds: “The reason for this move is to align and advance functional capabilities, co-locate staff with cross-functional teams and increase access to innovation and talent in Cambridge and San Francisco.”

The move overall covers close to 10% of Amgen’s Thousand Oaks staff. And it follows closely on the heels of CEO Bob Bradway’s promise to add 1,600 jobs at Amgen this year, minutes after the president had finished a harangue about the new American jobs he expected in exchange for reduced regulations. As a spokesperson noted at the time, though, Bradway was also referring to new hires to replace employees lost to attrition.

Bradway — who runs the company by strict Wall Street standards — prefers to keep a tight rein on head count at the pharma giant. Back in 2014 the company launched a company-wide restructuring that claimed about 20% of its total staff, including a research center in Seattle. He followed up in 2015, axing 300 of the 750 staffers picked up in the $10 billion Onyx buyout, closing the campus, which is now part of the Google empire.

Amgen is also closely following a big trend in pharma, concentrating R&D in the two big hubs on the East and West Coasts while ratcheting down operations scattered outside the primary biopharma regions. Merck has been doing that most recently as well.

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