For the full year, Amgen reported what it described a strong performance with sales of $23bn (€21.3bn), up 6% year-on-year, and a slight drop in its operating expenses to $3.5bn.
“On a non-GAAP basis, cost of sales as a percent of product sales improved by 1.2 points to 13.3%, driven by manufacturing efficiencies,” CFO David Meline told investors yesterday. “This decrease is a direct result of our continuing efforts to streamline our manufacturing processes, increase utilization of our factories, and maintain our position as a leader in the field of biologic drug manufacturing.”
Amgen announced the streamlining plans in July 2014 in order to save around $700m per year. As well as closing two US manufacturing facilities, the firm reduced its workforce by upwards of 15% - more than 3,000 staff.
But following a meeting Tuesday, Whitehouse press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted Amgen’s CEO Robert Bradway told President Trump the firm was planning to add 1,600 jobs in the US. As part of the new administration's America First policy and a crusade against the pharma industry, trump has vowed to bring back drug manufacturing to the US.
Bradway confirmed the tweet during the investor call, but said “these were jobs that were expected, contemplated in our plans for 2017.
“So this is a reflection both of our ongoing confidence and the attractiveness of the environment here in the US, and of the outlook we have for long-term growth,” he continued.
But as to what the new job functions are, Bradway was less clear. He said there would be “incremental hiring” to support a mass of product launches across different geographies, and hinted at new jobs to support areas of Amgen’s business such as its neurology franchise with its partner Novartis, and upcoming investments in bone health.
He alluded to the US playing a leading role in the field of biotechnology and said “biotech jobs are highly skilled desirable jobs,” but if Amgen’s plans are to bring bioproduction jobs back home, the firm has a limited US footprint to work with.
According to last year’s annual report, Amgen has four manufacturing sites in the US, but this includes the Epogen facility in Longmont, Colorado which was put up for sale as part of the 2014 restructure and was snapped up by AstraZeneca last October.
The other sites are in Thousand Oaks, California, Woburn, Massachusetts, and West Greenwhich, Rhode Island.
But the majority of the firm’s in-house bulk manufacturing, formulation and fill/finish activities for its biological products occur at Amgen’s Juncos, Puerto Rico plant and a site in The Netherlands, according to the report.
Amgen also has manufacturing plants in Brazil, Ireland, Turkey and Singapore, the latter being a $200m single-use site expected to begin commercial operations this year.