June 29, 2015
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen (AMGN) is currently auctioning off its equipment from its campus in Longmont, Colo.
It expects to shut down the 70-acre facility by the end of the year and is selling the entire package for $85 million. The campus includes six buildings that make up a manufacturing building, utilities, two quality control laboratories, a warehouse and an administrative building. Meanwhile, excess equipment, from microscopes to hazardous materials bags, are being auctioned off.
“Amgen is using Heritage Global Partners for its online auctions of equipment,” said Kristen Davis, Amgenspokeswoman to Times-Call Business. “The auction includes excess equipment from the Colorado facility as well as other sites.”
In July 2014 Amgen announced it was cutting 2,900 jobs and closing facilities in Washington state and Colorado. The goal was to cut costs and focus on new drug development. There are currently about 335 staffers still remaining at the Colorado sites as it continues to shut down.
In a 2014 Los Angeles Times article, Ravi Mehrotra, an analyst with Credit Suisse in New York, said at that time, “WhatAmgen clearly is trying to do is catch up, from an operational and structural cost basis, with its peer group. This is addressing the criticism that it is the least-efficient company from a structural perspective.”
However, on April 28, 2015, the company announced it had started hiring research scientists and production engineers in Boston as part of a 100-person staff expansion expected to expand its presence in Cambridge, Mass. and South San Francisco. It also reportedly hired an additional 75 people for its Kendall Square location in Cambridge.
The company expects to improve margin costs by 15 percent with another 1,100 job cuts added to the 2,900 it reported in mid-2014. In a statement, the company indicated it will see a total enterprise annual savings of up to $1.5 billion by 2018.
Benzinga recently reported that investors interest in short selling in the biotech arena seem to prefer Amgen over competitors Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) and Illumina (ILMN). About 10 of 20 analysts polled by Thomson/First Callrecommended buying shares of Amgen, with the other 50 percent saying to “Hold.” The mean price target was about 12 percent higher than its current share price. The company has a market cap of about $120.1 billion and a 2.0 percent dividend yield.
Amgen stock’s current price is $157.05. Overall, trading prices have been relatively flat since a high of $171.64 on Dec. 8, 2014. Prior to that shares traded for $115.39 on July 17, 2014 and $130.45 on Oct. 16, 2015.
Analysts suggest that the growth in stock prices has more to do with the company’s pipeline, as opposed to its efficiency efforts and layoffs. Pipeline interest include Blincyto for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), Corlanor, for heart failure, Vectibix for wild-type KRAS metastatic colorectal cancer and AMG334 for episodic migraine.