Amgen to close Bothell, Seattle facilities

By Dan Catchpole Herald Writer

BOTHELL — Despite “robust growth,” Amgen, one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, is shutting down operations in Bothell and Seattle, which means the loss of several hundred jobs in Washington.

The company also plans to pull out of Colorado and reduce its headquarters workforce, while expanding in biotechnology hubs in San Francisco and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The moves are expected to trim operating costs, Amgen CEO Robert Bradway told investors and stock analysts on Tuesday.

In all, the company plans to cut 2,400 to 2,900 jobs — about 12 to 15 percent of its global workforce — by the end of 2015.

Bradway praised workers at the locations to be closed, saying they “have made enormous contributions to advancing biotechnology over the years and the surrounding communities have been very supportive, so it is with great reluctance that we acknowledge the need to exit.”

Amgen, which is based in Thousand Oaks, California, is talking with “third-parties about potential use of the facilities,” he said.

The changes will shrink Amgen’s physical presence by 23 percent, and reduce operating costs by about $700 million by 2016 as compared to 2013. The savings will be used to support new product launches, according to a news release from the company.

Amgen is also considering other steps to increase efficiency and trim costs, according to the release.

The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Bothell facility has fewer than 100 workers, according to news reports.

The company has about 660 research staff in Washington and 200 in Colorado, according to FierceBiotech, a news website that covers the biotechnology industry.

Despite the closures, Amgen’s revenue increased 11 percent in the second quarter of the year, as did its earnings per share, which saw a 25 percent jump to $2.37.

“From a position of strength, we have announced today restructuring initiatives that will allow us to reallocate resources to invest in our upcoming launches and drive growth,” Bradway said in the release.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.