Amgen to slash staff by up to 14 percent

The biotech lowers earnings guidance for 2007, prepares to cut 2,600 employees, blames anti-anemia drug Aranesp sales.

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The biotech giant Amgen said it will cut its staff by up to 14 percent and lower its guidance because of low revenues from Aranesp, one of its top-selling drugs.

Amgen (down $0.73 to $50.59, Charts, Fortune 500), based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., dropped its adjusted earnings guidance for 2007 to a range of $4.13 to $4.23 per share, from $4.28 a share.

Amgen said the staff cuts, of up to 2,600 employees, would be completed in 2008 and result in pre-tax savings of up to $1.3 billion for that year. The biotech said pre-tax restructuring charges of up to $700 million are expected.

Amgen's stock has fallen 25 percent year-to-date, squeezed by concerns over the safety of Aranesp, a blockbuster used in conjunction with chemotherapy to offset the depletion of red blood cells.

In March, the FDA heightened warning labels for Aranesp and another Amgen drug, Epogen, as well as Johnson & Johnson's (up $0.17 to $61.30, Charts, Fortune 500) competing drug Procit, saying that these drugs could have sometimes-fatal side effects.

Amgen and Epogen sales totaled $6.6 billion in 2006.

Amgen is the world's leading biotech in terms of annual sales. Genentech (down $0.41 to $72.96, Charts), based in South San Francisco, is No. 2. Top of page

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

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Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.