Amgen plans to lay off 350 former Horizon employees after $28B buyout

In the biopharma industry, post-merger layoffs are often a question of when and how many.

In the case of Amgen’s $27.8 billion buyout of Horizon, which was revealed last December and finalized earlier this month, they came quickly. Around 350 former Horizon employees are being told this week that their positions will be eliminated where there is "overlap with existing teams at Amgen," a spokesperson said.

Separation dates will begin Dec. 30 of this year and continue through December 2024, the company said.

More than 80% of Horizon’s former employees in the U.S. are being “placed in Amgen roles, reflecting the knowledge and capabilities we need to continue serving patients suffering from rare diseases," the spokesperson added.

Horizon operated mostly in the U.S., though it moved its home base to Ireland after a $600 million purchase of Vidara Therapeutics in 2014.

Amgen has been on somewhat of a cost-cutting spree this year, cutting 300 jobs in January and 450 more in May, when it blamed “intensifying pressure on drug prices and high inflation.” Entering the year, the company’s head count was more than 25,000.

The company employs around 26,700 people worldwide after the Horizon buyout, Amgen's spokesperson said.

Post-buyout layoffs have come to be expected in the industry. Earlier this month, Biogen cut 113 positions from Reata Pharmaceuticals just weeks after closing its $7.3 billion acquisition of the Texas-based rare disease specialist.

Like Amgen, Biogen was engaged in a cost-cutting program—laying off 1,000 in a company “redesign”—when it made its pricey acquisition.

Another company employing the playbook was CSL, which unveiled plans last year to shed 85 staffers shortly after it closed an $11.7 billion buyout of Vifor.

Earlier in 2022, Gilead Sciences announced plans to lay off more than 100 staffers at Immunomedics’ former headquarters following a $21 billion acquisition of the company.

Also in 2022, Merck laid off a clutch of Acceleron staffers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just months after striking an $11.5 billion deal for the Boston-based rare disease specialist.