Amgen layoffs: Good news for Ventura County?

Suffering from falling sales of its blockbuster anemia drugs, Amgen recently chopped its workforce as part of a widespread restructuring aimed at slicing out a billion dollars in expenses. California-based Amgen is headquartered in Ventura County, where it is the biggest employer.

But rather than devastating the area, Amgen's decision to cut 12 to 14 percent of it workforce may actually be a boon for Ventura County. Some observers speculate that the well-educated, affluent Amgen cast-offs have the know-how and desire to start their own tiny biotechs.  These would-be entrepreneurs could be the future of biotech in Southern California, and be a major boon to both the county and Amgen in the future.

According to Ahmed Enany, president and chief executive of the Southern California Biomedical Council, Amgen hasn't made an effort to support the growth of other biotechnology companies in its region. "Amgen historically hasn't been involved in any effort to promote biotechnology in the region. It was like an island unto itself," he said. "This restructuring shows the folly of such a strategy." Amgen often recruits outside the state and potential employees have to consider what their options are if they lose their Amgen job, for there isn't a large cluster of biotech companies in the region that offer other employment options. A new generation of biotech companies in the area would go a long way to stabilizing the industry in Ventura County.

- see this report for more

ALSO: The Ventura County Star take a look at one former Amgen employee who founded his own company. Article

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