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Amgen Lays Off 101 as Generics Threat Looms

Amgen will lay off 101 people at its Bothell, WA., manufacturing facility in July, according to the Seattle Post Intelligencer. The news was expected and had been announced in March.

The layoffs come after Q1 2009 sales fell 8 percent to $3.3 billion and net income declined 7 percent to $1 billion.

Amgen's products face a double threat from generic biologics and lower reimbursements from Medicare and other insurers.

CEO Kevin Sharer (pictured) brushed off the idea that generic biologics would damage Amgen the way generic small-molecule drugs have hurt Pfizer or Merck. Because there are so few companies with the manufacturing capability to make generic biologics, Sharer believes Amgen could hold onto 30 to 50 percent of cash flow from generic products, he told Reuters.

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