October 19, 2011 / 7:15 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 2-Amgen to lay off 380 R&D workers

* Most layoffs involve U.S. research sites

* Cuts do not target specific therapeutic areas

Oct 19 (Reuters) - Amgen Inc , the world’s largest biotechnology company, is laying off 380 research and development employees, mostly in the U.S., or about 2 percent of the company’s total workforce.

The cuts do not target particular therapeutic areas and no sites are being shut down, a company spokeswoman said.

“These are very targeted and strategic reductions so we can continue to allocate our R&D resources in a focused manner,” Amgen spokeswoman Mary Klem said.

She said the layoffs involve staff at research facilities in Thousand Oaks, California; Seattle; South San Francisco, California; and Massachusetts. The company is in discussions with some UK personnel regarding layoffs.

Amgen, which had 17,600 employees at the end of July, signaled to employees last week that it planned to reorganize R&D operations.

“We have lots of molecules moving into later stages of development, which means more expensive stages of development,” Klem said.

She declined to comment on how much money the company aims to save with the job cuts.

Last year, Amgen posted revenue of $15.1 billion and spent $2.9 billion, or about 19 percent of its revenue, on R&D -- a level that some investors have deemed too high.

Separately on Wednesday, Amgen said it had hired Anthony Cooper, formerly with Bristol-Myers Squibb , to head its global commercial operations.

Sales of Amgen’s flagship anemia drugs have flattened over the past few years on concerns that doctors may have been overusing the medicines in certain patients. The company’s new bone drug denosumab is seen by many as its next blockbuster.

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