Amgen Announces HQ, Rhode Island Job Cuts; Buyout Reduces Planned Layoffs;
Company Mum on Mayor’s Talk of ‘Minimal’ Layoffs Within South San Francisco
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. – Amgen last week announced it would lay off 675 of about 8,300 workers at its Thousand Oaks, Calif., headquarters campus, and another 450 of 1,600 workers at its manufacturing plant in West Greenwich, R.I., and 375 workers scattered across the US and Puerto Rico.
Another 700 staffers nationwide accepted a voluntary buyout, allowing Amgen to reduce from up to 2,600 the number of layoffs it plans to carry out by early November. Amgen originally projected it would eliminate between 2,200 and 2,600 positions when it announced a series of cost-cutting measures in August.
In South San Francisco, where Amgen employs about 550 people, Mayor Richard Garbarino told BioRegion News he was informed by company officials that few if any of its workers in the city would be laid off: “They said the impact will be very minimal,” Garbarino said in an interview at the BayBio GeneAcres 15 conference, held here Sept. 25.
Amgen spokeswoman Sandee Irwin told BioRegion News in a subsequent e-mail that the company would not comment on Garbarino’s remarks.
“We are not able to disclose the number of staff that will be impacted by a reduction in force in SSF at this time,” Irwin said. “We expect to complete the process by early November. The dates that these notifications occur will vary by site, based on production schedules and business needs.”
South San Francisco has already been impacted by Amgen’s cost-cutting, carried out as the company struggles to recoup lost sales from Aranesp, designed to combat anemia due to chemotherapy or kidney failure. After reporting in January that a phase III test conducted last year linked Aranesp to increased risk of mortality, heart disease and stroke in anemic cancer patients, private insurers began removing Aranesp reimbursement coverage and the federal government imposed restrictions on the drug’s availability to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries with cancer.
In August, the company quietly hired GVA Kidder Matthews to market for sublease a total 365,000 square feet in three buildings, the 95,000-square-foot 1130 Veterans Blvd., and the the buildings totaling 235,000 square feet under construction at Britannia Oyster Point, 331 and 333 Oyster Point Blvd. [BioRegion News, Aug. 20].
BayBio Launches Regional Initiative Promoting Industry in Northern California
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. – BayBio, the life sciences industry group for the San Francisco Bay Area, has teamed up with economic development professionals from the Silicon Valley north to Sacramento to launch a new effort aimed at promoting the region to biotech businesses.
The new BayBio Corridor will provide a “tool kit” of marketing materials intended to promote the counties south and north of San Francisco, BayBio president Matthew Gardner told BioRegion News.
Groups joining the effort include the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization, which serves Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties and 23 cities within them; the Silicon Valley Economic Development Alliance, whose membership include two counties and 23 municipalities; and the East Bay Economic Development Alliance for Business.
“We initially met two years ago to begin discussing how to provide a tool kit for promoting investment in the biotech region here in a new way,” Gardner said in an interview.
He credited Mike Amman, president of the Solano EDC, with working with BayBio on the initiative.
“We started to build a toolkit basically with a satellite flyover of al the biotech in the region. It’s just getting off the ground to build some marketing and collaborative materials,” Gardner added.
He spoke minutes after he announced the corridor effort at BayBio’s annual conference, GeneAcres 15, held Sept. 25 at the South San Francisco Conference Center.
San Jose City Council Mulls $2.7M for BioCenter Expansion, Biomanufacturing Study
San Jose's City Council on Oct. 2 will consider spending $2.5 million to expand the BioCenter opened three years ago by the city, plus another $200,000 to study the feasibility of building a new pilot manufacturing center for companies ready to bring their products to market, the San Jose Mercury News reported last week.
The money would be spent to renovate the vacant 33,750-square-foot first floor of 5941 Optical Court, within the Edenvale Technology Park owned by Mission West Properties of Cupertino, Calif. The renovation would allow the center to expand from its current space on the building’s 36,594-square-foot second floor.
News of the BioCenter’s planned expansion and the possibility of a biomanufacturing facility was first reported by BioRegion News on July 23.
At the time, the BioCenter’s executive director, Melissa Richter, told BRN the center needed more space because several of its tenant startups or “clients” and their affiliates were poised to grow dramatically over the next few years.
“We have 25 companies in the BioCenter now. I don't think we believed we'd be occupied this quickly,” Ruani Weerakoon, senior policy advisor to Mayor Chuck Reed for economic development, told the Mercury News.
$2M Federal Economic Development Grant Awarded for East Baltimore Project
The US Economic Development Administration has awarded a $2 million grant for the East Baltimore Development Project, the 80-acre mixed-use development near Johns Hopkins School of Medicine that includes the $800 million, 1.1 million-square-foot Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins, as well as 850 rental and for-sale homes and 80,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The project is projected to generate 400 jobs and will comprise the first phase of a redeveloped neighborhood, the New East Baltimore Community.
News of the grant was announced by US Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the chairwoman of the Senate’s Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee; the EDA falls under the US Department of Commerce.
Connecticut Innovations Completes $680,000 Follow-On Investment in Ipsogen
Connecticut Innovations, the state’s quasi-public authority responsible for technology investing and innovation development, announced Oct. 1 it has completed a follow-on investment of $680,000 in Ipsogen to help the subsidiary of Ipsogen SAS of Marseilles, France, expand its operations in Connecticut. Ipsogen recently opened a North American corporate headquarters in New Haven, Conn.
Ipsogen is a life science company focused on the development and commercialization of molecular diagnostic tests intended to help oncologists determine the effectiveness of cancer treatments and guide therapeutic options. Ipsogen is also developing tests to monitor treatments for breast cancer and other forms of cancer.
CI’s investment was part of a $3.36 million round, also involving Matignon Technologies, Société Générale Asset Management, and Sofipaca.
Indiana Health Industry Forum Announces Incubator, Business Attraction Programs
The Indiana Health Industry Forum today announced two new programs intended to help universities, communities, and economic development organizations grow the health and life sciences industry in Indiana.
The Incubator Membership and Business Attraction Membership programs will allow start-ups and new businesses locating in Indiana to take advantage of IHIF member programs and discounts. Working with IHIF member universities and business incubators, the Incubator Membership will give start-up companies locating in these facilities a one-year, free membership in the Indiana Health Industry Forum.
The Business Attraction Membership will be available to IHIF member economic development organizations and will allow them to purchase a low-level, one-year membership to use as part of their incentive packages in new business attraction projects.
Serving as a chamber of commerce for Indiana companies in the health and life sciences industry, the Indiana Health Industry Forum also serves as the Indiana affiliate to the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
Community College Opens New Business and Technology Building
Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan., has officially dedicated its new Regnier Center, located on the east side of campus. The three-story, 155,000-square-foot structure houses a 5,400-square-foot biotechnology laboratory suite with a teaching lab, research lab, classroom, prep room, tissue culture room, and faculty office; and sophisticated equipment including a DNA sequencer, a thermocycler, and high-pressure liquid chromatograph.
Also in the facility is a small business development center; classrooms and computer laboratories for information systems, information technology, interactive media, computer science and data processing; training rooms and an assessment center for the school’s Business and Technology Center; a 6,000-square-foot conference center with red oak paneling; and the three-story Shull Foyer, which serves as an information center for the entire building.
The tech center and adjacent Nerman Museum for Contemporary Art cost a total of $52.6 million, part of it funded through a capital campaign. The campaign began with a $5 million challenge gift by the Victor and Helen Regnier Charitable Foundation in June 2003. The couple developed housing and commercial properties in Johnson County for five decades. The
Regnier foundation is co-directed by their three children, Robert, Cathy, and Victor Jr.
A virtual groundbreaking for the building took place inDecember 2004 and construction began the following month.
Council Honors Georgetown, Tex., With 2007 Community Economic Development Award
Georgetown, Tex., will be honored on Thursday with the 2007 Community Economic Development award among cities in its population category from the Texas Economic Development Council, a statewide professional organization, at an event in Dallas.
Georgetown will be recognized in part for its role in helping develop the Texas Life Sciences Commercialization Center, a facility that has attracted two life sciences companies: Orthopeutics, the developer of a tissue-injection process designed to repair disc problems in the spine; and Radix BioSolutions, a biological research and testing firm that moved to the center last year. The city said it is working with the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, Southwestern University, and the University of Texas to find additional businesses willing to move into the center., and the to find additional businesses willing to move into the center.
The city is also being recognized for attracting a $450 million, 300,000-square-foot Citicorp computer data center facility now under construction.