Hit by copycat meds, Amgen trims 172 more jobs, this time in operations, R&D and sales

amgen
In a filing with California labor authorities, Amgen said it's cutting 172 jobs, most of them field-based workers. (Amgen)

Amgen's top line has suffered from knockoff competition in recent quarters, and now the pain is moving to its payroll. After disclosing almost 150 cuts on the East Coast last week, the biotech giant now says it's cutting 172 staffers at its headquarters and in the field.  

The layoffs will hit R&D, operations and commercial employees, Amgen said in a California WARN filing (PDF). The majority of the jobs targeted are field-based jobs throughout the U.S., though some cuts will hit its headquarters in Thousand Oaks, California.

The layoffs will take effect Dec. 31, the filing said.

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An Amgen spokeswoman said the company, like others, “regularly evaluates and adjusts staffing levels to meet the needs of the business.”

"While these decisions are never easy, we believe our ability to compete will be strengthened by a tighter focus on investments that can help bring important medicines to patients to treat serious, life-threatening illnesses," she added. 

RELATED: Amgen to cut 149 staff in retreat from neuroscience R&D 

The cuts come as Amgen deals with patent expirations and new biosimilar rivals. The company faces generic versions of its thyroid drug Sensipar and recently launched copycats to its white blood cell boosters Neupogen and Neulasta—plus anemia drug Epogen. Biosimilar versions of its immunology med Enbrel are approved but not yet launched. Amgen defeated a patent challenge on Enbrel from Sandoz over the summer.

Thanks to new rivals, the drugmaker's sales dipped 2% in the second quarter and 3% in the third quarter versus the same periods last year.

Meanwhile, as biosims take a toll on its drugs, the company is hitting back with its own biosimilars to other companies' blockbusters—and those meds brought in $173 million last quarter.

RELATED: Top 10 drugs losing exclusivity in 2019 | Sensipar

Last week, Amgen said it’d cut 149 jobs in Massachusetts by the end of the year as it exits neuroscience R&D. 

Amgen in 2014 laid off 2,900 employees in a major restructuring, and the company in 2017 cut jobs as part of a plan to shift employment to a new facility in Tampa. 

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