Amgen is moving more than 100 R&D jobs from its headquarters to facilities in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and San Francisco, California. The relocation of discovery research and translational science staffers is part of a larger reshuffle that will affect close to 10% of employees at Amgen’s headquarters in Thousand Oaks, California.
Employees at the Thousand Oaks site learnt of the reorganization last week, leading to a report in the Pacific Coast Business Times. That report revealed Amgen will reassign, relocate or lay off close to 500 of the 5,500 people it currently employs at its headquarters. Amgen will make the planned personnel changes over the next 12 to 18 months.
The actions will affect a little more than 100 people in the discovery research and translational sciences group at Thousand Oaks. In an emailed statement, Amgen spokesperson Kristen Davis said the company has offered some of the 100 or so people the chance to relocate to its facilities in San Francisco and Cambridge. Others will stick around at Thousand Oaks “for varying lengths of time while we make this transition.”
Davis declined to say how many of the jobs will go to each site. Both have benefited from Amgen’s recent reorganizations. In 2015, Amgen singled out its desire to expand in Cambridge and San Francisco as motivating the acceleration of its exits from sites in Colorado and Washington, as well as the consolidation of facilities at Thousand Oaks. Amgen unveiled plans to add 100 employees in Cambridge that year.
The Big Biotech is framing the latest influx of staff to Cambridge and San Francisco as an attempt to co-locate staff with cross-functional teams. In doing so, Amgen is contributing to a wider industry trend to invest in a small number of R&D hubs in scientific hotspots at the expense of facilities in the comparative boondocks of biotech.
Davis said “Thousand Oaks remains an important research site for Amgen, with critical discovery research and translational sciences capabilities,” but the site has faced repeated cuts since Amgen first made major layoffs in 2007. Back then, Amgen employed around 7,500 people in the area. That number had fallen to 6,000 by the time Amgen wielded the ax again in 2014. And had slipped to 5,500 before the latest reorganization.
In total, the upcoming actions will affect 500 positions at the site. Amgen is shunting 50 support roles to its new site in Tampa, Florida. Other people will change roles within Thousand Oaks or leave the company altogether.