LOS ANGELES - Biotechnology company Amgen Inc. said yesterday that it would cut up to 14 percent of its workforce and has lowered its profit guidance because of slimmer-than-expected sales of its anemia drug Aranesp.
The company said it planned to reduce its workforce 12 percent to 14 percent, or between 2,200 and 2,600 positions, and would get hit with a restructuring charge of $600 million to $700 million.
Amgen also adjusted downward its earnings-per-share guidance for the full-year to $4.13 to $4.23 from previous guidance of $4.28.
The Thousand Oaks, Calif., company said it would also reduce capital expenditures $1.9 billion.
The moves do not come as a surprise. Amgen signaled problems last month when it reported that worldwide sales of its anemia-treating drug Aranesp dropped 10 percent to $949 million in the second quarter. The Food and Drug Administration found that the drug should carry a stronger warning label when used in cancer patients with anemia.
The warning-label addition called for doctors to use the lowest possible dose of the drug.
On Aug. 1, Medicare released new rules restricting reimbursement for the class of drugs known as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, which also includes Johnson & Johnson's Procrit and another Amgen drug, Epogen. They are used to treat anemia in patients with kidney failure and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
The additional warnings and later calls for more studies focused on safety were damaging to Amgen.
Aranesp was the company's best-selling drug last year, with $4.12 billion in sales.
The company had previously said it would cut back on expansion plans overseas and would refocus resources on research-and-development efforts.