Onyx spells out layoff policies as staffers brace for post-buyout cuts

Every time a biotech is bought out, there's always one big question on the minds of every rank-and-file employee not in line for a golden handshake: Will I have a job when the dust settles?

Onyx ($ONXX) is no exception to that rule. A day after closing their $10.4 billion M&A deal with Amgen ($AMGN), the company's management took the issue head on in a Q&A format for staffers and filed it at the SEC. And right near the top comes the big question:

When will I know if my position is being eliminated at close?

"All employees will be notified no later than 30 days after the transaction closes if their positions are to be eliminated, transitioned, or they are to be offered longer-term employment with Amgen," came management's response. "If their positions are to be eliminated, they will be provided at least two weeks' notice prior to their last day."

At this point, Onyx and Amgen aren't detailing the likely cuts to come. But Onyx's main attraction to Amgen lay in its marketed products. And Amgen hasn't been looking to add much more to its R&D plate anyway. So the scuttlebutt at the corner cubicle is likely to be a bit bleak. But they won't have long to wait.

Onyx: "Amgen expects to make decisions on all employees by 30 days after the transaction closes, and it expects that this process will take place gradually over the next few months."

Anyone terminated can get a pro-rated bonus for the year-to-date. They will also get a minimum of two months pay, COBRA insurance and outplacement support.

In the meantime, it's business as usual, sort of.

"Until the close, Onyx will continue to operate as an independent company operating our business in the ordinary course."

Of course, it's anything but "the ordinary course" at Onyx today.

- here's the SEC filing