Amgen is halting Epogen manufacturing in Colorado

Workers at Amgen's ($AMGN) Boulder, CO-area facilities were warned in 2012 to prepare for job cuts. The California-based company said that after a production buildup for a year or so, it intended to halt Epogen production there. Last week, it followed through on the warning, saying the cuts will happen this spring.

Workers at the Longmont and Boulder-area facilities were told that the manufacturing facilities would be mothballed and about 220 jobs would be cut by the end of April when the company suspends manufacturing of the anemia drug. Amgen spokeswoman Ashleigh Koss told FiercePharma in an email the reduction affects about a third of the 650 full-time workers at the facilities. She said about 430 people work in process development, quality, information systems, and corporate support.

Koss said that the company intends to hold on to some of the production capacity at the facility "and may resume manufacturing in the future based on pipeline and inventory requirements." According to the Longmont Times-Call, Amgen's Longmont site has about 700,000 square feet of space, of which 220,000 was used for Epogen production. The company's Lake Centre facility in Boulder is about 300,000 square feet.

Workers there have had this prospect hanging over their heads since August of 2012, when Amgen said it would ramp up production of Epogen for awhile, ahead of the inevitable. Sales have been declining for some time after Medicare changed the way it paid for the drugs used by kidney dialysis patients and after they were tied to risks of heart attacks and blood clots. Epogen sales, which hit $2.6 billion in 2009, were $1.953 billion last year, up 1%, Amgen reported on Wednesday. Sales of sister drug Aranesp were off 6% globally to $1.911 billion.

- read the Longmont Times-Call story
- here's the 2013 earnings release

Related Articles:
With patent clock ticking, Amgen plans to shutter Epogen plant
Falling Epogen sales crash on Amgen plant
Medicare rules threaten Epogen with 38% drop