Amgen Cuts 450 Jobs in Second Round of Layoffs This Year

Amgen_Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Amgen is terminating 450 workers in hopes of weathering dropping drug prices and rising inflation, according to a Friday morning Reuters report.

Accounting for less than 2% of its global workforce, this is Amgen’s second round of layoffs this year. In January, the company let go of some 300 team members in an attempt to “better manage against industry headwinds,” a company spokesperson told BioSpace at the time.

The January job cuts involved U.S.-based employees and mainly affected the company’s commercial operations, the spokesperson said.

Regarding the most recent round of cuts, a company spokesperson told BioSpace, "We made these changes to realign our expense base in the face of intensifying pressure on drug prices and high levels of inflation so that we can continue to deliver value for our patients, staff and shareholders."

In its 2022 year-end SEC report, Amgen noted it had 25,200 employees across 50 countries, with “relatively low global turnover rates” as compared with the rest of the industry. Where needed, Amgen also supplements its workforce with temporary and contingent workers and temporary contractors.

Amgen’s back-to-back layoffs come amid the company’s stagnant fiscal performance in 2022. During the fourth quarter of last year, the company reported $6.839 billion in total revenue, down slightly from the $6.846 billion revenue in the fourth quarter of 2021. Total revenue for all of 2022 was only 1% higher than the year before.

For 2023, Amgen pegged its total revenue to fall between $26 billion and $27.2 billion.

Biopharma Layoffs Continue

Amgen is only the latest biopharma company to turn to layoffs to cut costs amid strong economic headwinds.

A recent report by accounting and consulting firm BDO shows that Amgen is just part of a larger trend that, throughout the year, may push 13% of life science firms to downsize. BioSpace’s own 2023 Layoff Tracker has found that since the start of the year, there have already been 40 reports of job cuts.

Most recently, Vaxart is letting go of 27% of its workforce as it realigns its pipeline, pushing back its COVID-19 program to better focus on the development of its oral norovirus vaccine. Neoleukin, a de novo protein design company, has also laid off 70% of its staff in a strategic review of its business.

Even more established companies have been forced to downsize. In February, Theravance ended research activities for its JAK inhibitor program in lung inflammation, leading to a 17% workforce reduction.

Eisai is also letting go of 91 employees, effective Apr. 30, while Merck’s EMD Serono announced in January it was planning to lay off 133 members of its staff.

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