Amgen Lays Off 350 Employees!
In a strategic move following its acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics for a staggering $27.8 billion, Amgen is undergoing significant organizational changes, resulting in the laying off 350 employees. This development was reported by various media outlets on Tuesday.
The job cuts will primarily affect Horizon positions that overlap with existing roles at Amgen. Over the course of this week, the affected employees will be notified of their impending termination, with the separation process set to commence on December 30, extending throughout the year 2024.
However, it’s important to note that a significant portion of Horizon’s workforce, over 80%, will seamlessly transition into roles within Amgen. This move reflects Amgen’s commitment to harnessing the expertise and capabilities required to continue providing critical care to patients afflicted with rare diseases. As of the end of 2022, Horizon boasted a workforce exceeding 2,100 employees, as per a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
This marks the latest in a series of workforce adjustments made by Amgen this year. The initial round of layoffs occurred in January 2023 when the company initiated organizational changes to better navigate the challenges posed by industry dynamics. In this first wave, Amgen let go of 300 employees.
In March, Amgen followed up with an additional 450 employees being terminated, and in July, four more employees were released from their positions at the San Francisco campus.
The recent layoffs transpire in the wake of Amgen’s successful closure of its acquisition of Horizon. Initially announced in December 2022, the acquisition encountered significant scrutiny, including antitrust concerns and political pushback. In January 2023, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) penned a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), urging a thorough examination of biopharma mergers that had the potential to undermine competition, stifle innovation, or increase drug costs.
Senator Warren explicitly called out Amgen and Horizon in her letter, highlighting the deal’s perceived antitrust and price manipulation implications. The FTC, in response to these concerns, filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the acquisition. Of particular concern were “cross-market bundles or bundled rebates,” a negotiation strategy believed to leverage Amgen’s products to secure more favorable formulary placements for Horizon’s treatments.
Amgen and Horizon, however, vehemently refuted these concerns, labeling them as speculative. In July 2023, the companies countered the FTC’s actions by questioning the constitutionality of their efforts, particularly as the FTC was seeking administrative court hearings.
A month later, the FTC opted to temporarily withdraw its lawsuit, eventually formally clearing Amgen’s acquisition of Horizon in September 2023. Under the consent order, Amgen is prohibited from bundling any of its products with Horizon’s thyroid eye disease treatment, Tepezza, or the chronic refractory gout medicine Krystexxa. Additionally, Amgen cannot offer product rebates or contract terms that could unfairly favor either Horizon drug or put competing products at a disadvantage.
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