Amgen inherited the 40-acre Helix campus as part of its acquisition of Immunex in 2002.

Biotech giant Amgen says it will close its facilities in the Seattle region — including its 40-acre waterfront campus on Elliott Bay, inherited with its acquisition of Immunex more than a decade ago.

The closure of the sites in Seattle and Bothell, Wash., was announced by the company this afternoon as part of a broader plan to cut between 2,400 and 2,900 jobs across the company, or about 12 to 15 percent of its global workforce.

About 660 people work in the company’s Seattle facility, an Amgen spokeswoman said. Amgen says in a statement that it’s “actively engaging in discussions with third-parties about potential future use of the facilities.”

The cuts, which will also close Amgen facilities in Colorado, will begin later this year and last through 2015.

Amgen said in its statement, “The talented staff members in Seattle and Bothell have made enormous contributions to advancing biotechnology over the years and the surrounding communities have been very supportive, so it is with great reluctance that we acknowledge the need to leave.”

The company, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., says in an SEC filing that the cutbacks are the “result of the efforts of a number of teams at the Company conducting an intensive review of its future structure in light of the Company’s anticipated late-stage pipeline developments and expansion into biosimilars.”

Follow-up: Amazon’s new waterfront home? Five ideas for Amgen’s beautiful Seattle campus

Note: Year of Immunex acquisition corrected since original post.

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  • Guest

    Immunex was acquired by Amgen in 2002.

    • Todd Bishop

      Thanks for the help, I corrected that above.

  • OhNoesNotAgain

    and the hope and change rolls on..

  • DebbieLMiller

    The talented staff members in Seattle and Bothell have made enormous contributions to advancing biotechnology over the years and the surrounding communities have been very supportive, so it is with great reluctance that we acknowledge the need to leave

  • Patrick Husting

    That is an amazing location. I wonder if Paul Allen would step up and purchase that location.

  • guest

    Knock it down and build a basketball and hockey arena with ample parking!

    • NE-PNW VoorTrekker

      Do you know how valuable that site is? I don’t mean the view but the actual bones of those buildings.

    • boop

      Yeah, someone I know suggested using it for office space but wouldn’t they have to rip out tons of lab equipment? Such a shame.

      • NE-PNW VoorTrekker

        My guess is Alexandria or BioMed Realties scoops it up and the subdivides it for 10-20 start-ups as incubator space.

  • NE-PNW VoorTrekker

    I work there now…got a new job starting in about two weeks luckily. The facility is absolutely the best one I have ever seen in every way possible. Seattle biotech. job market will not survive this…700 talented people being dumped on our lackluster career scene all at once. No way. Dead’n’Gone was bad enough (DNDN). This city and governor are too busy courting IT and worrying about making headlines with $15/h minimum wage. MA, CA, and NC- the only three real players, have made a concerted effort to land not just R&D shops, but more importantly manufacturing. That is what creates all kinds of jobs and keeps a company from leaving.

    • boop

      What about Omeros and Norvo Nordisk? (apologies if I’m spelling incorrectly)

      • NE-PNW VoorTrekker

        Both are small potatoes. Novo Nordisk is a Tier 1 company to work for but I think they only have a 50 something person research facility here. Omeros…not sure what they even do…off label drug resales? We can only hope that Seattle Genetics, Juno Therapeutics, CMC biologics, and Brystol-Meyers Squibb continue to grow in a responsible manner. People are going to have to move, retire, or change industries though for this job market to bounce back.

        • boop

          I really don’t understand how it was Washington state’s responsibility to make sure Amgen stays in Seattle. I heard a rumor yesterday Amgen is positioning itself to be bought out by Pfizer or similar pharmaceutical giant. Not sure what Washington state or the City of Seattle can do about corporate maneuvers such as these.

          • NE-PNW VoorTrekker

            If Washington state (and City of Seattle) want the high paying, diversified jobs of biotechnology, then they have to court these companies with tax breaks and other incentives. Not just tiny high risk research/discovery labs that only cater to elitist M.D./Ph.D. and low-payed research associates, but full-fledged manufacturing plants. That is what CA, MA, and NC have done and look at the clusters they have been rewarded with. If WA tried harder ten years ago, Seattle would probably be in the top three as far as clusters go by now, and Amgen might have thought differently about abandoning the area. Now the clusters are dissolving. Even North NJ/SE NY is fading away. Soon it will only be SF, Boston, and Raleigh- gravitational pull. You do realize that Amgen will be expanding in SSF and Cambridge after this restructuring- not here. I’ll give credit to WA for landing the C fiber plant in Moses Lake. A sign of hope in a sea of political distractions like $15/h minimum.

          • boop

            So you believe in what liberals call “corporate welfare.” I have no particularly strong views on that but I guess my expectations are much lower: I’d be happy if the City of Seattle just paved the streets and enforced the sidewalk sign ordinance.

          • NE-PNW VoorTrekker

            Not sure I believe in corporate welfare or if that is what you call it. I do believe in anything that has a net increase in benefit in the region after an initial investment. Massachusetts and Washington are clearly doing something right; we are not. ha I’ll take these streets any day after what I dealt with near Boston. At least you’re not bending wheels every other month on your car out here.

          • KG18

            I don’t think manufacturing and R&D are tied together like they used to be. R&D goes where talent is or wants to be. Manufacturing goes by cost. North Carolina is low cost. CA and MA don’t have much new manufacturing growing. R&D in the Bay Area and Boston/Cambridge – but not really manufacturing. Even in Silicon Valley – manufacturing of Silicon has pretty much taken flight. Not much “Silicon” in the valley as before…. Though the tech jobs there continue to grow.

          • NE-PNW VoorTrekker

            In biotechnology and pharmaceutical, you often hear “R&D” go hand-in-hand like more traditional industries. This really isn’t the case though. It is true in traditional natural products and synthetic chemistry (small molecule) pharmaceuticals. In biotechnology though, “the process is the product”, and the manufacturing needs technical hand-holding throughout it’s life cycle. That is why I often refer to it as development & manufacturing, since discovery research is more easily decoupled from than rest of the functional areas. To your point about manufacturing facilities not being built in MA and CA- they still are, but if even at a slower rate, the existing ones aren’t going anywhere and continue to expand and provide a spectrum of good jobs for decades to come.

  • Dave

    Wow. I’d guess Amazon will try to buy the site either directly or Paul Allen will buy it then lease it to Amazon. But the space is great biotech space, which has very specific needs.

    A huge, huge loss for Seattle’s life sciences community. Around 2000 you had Immunex as a big employer, talent draw and source of new companies plus ICOS then a number of promising startups. The Seattle area started to have enough critical mass to draw high quality talent from around the country here and they had enough opportunities that if one company ended, they could find more. And these are highly educated, highly paid people who are generally very stable parts of their communities go nd how long biotech takes.

    Now the universe has really continued to shrink. Seattle Genetics is probably the largest biotech by market cap and has 500+ employees. Dendreon flopped, ICOS sold when they couldn’t develop a second drug. Some promising earlier/smaller companies like Omeros, Alder, Accucela and others but no major anchor tenant possibilities near term unless Seattle Genetics really grew. Hopefully the Hutch will continue to fill that void as a talent draw and spin out more great companies.

    • NE-PNW VoorTrekker

      That 10 year old building is worth too much money as laboratory space, especially to replicate. My guess is Biomed Realty or Alexandria scoops it up and subdivides into a start-up incubator space for 10-20 tiny companies. There are countless empty lots (seattle is full of them) throughout Downtown, Denny Triangle, Cascade, Belltown, and even in Interbay next to the Helix. Amazon could easily drop in their own brand new 40- story office towers just as easily as turning a high-tech lab space into a giant cube farm. The Bothell GMP manufacturing site will be scooped up “as is” by someone soon I’m sure.

  • James Maiocco

    Unfortunate news about Amgen; sad to see friends lose their jobs. However, there are significant BioTech investments happening in Seattle – Juno Therapeutics ($176M+) and Adaptive Biotechnologies ($112M+). Both have taken recent rounds in last 6 months, and growing their business in Seattle. While city/state can always do more to promote economic development, I’m confident Seattle entrepreneurs will continue to thrive and capitalize on PNW talent. When the door shuts, look for a window.

    • Dave

      Both of those are significant investments and hopefully will be great companies but neither is a sizeable employer yet. Both are sub-100 employees and Adaptive has made some of its key hires in the Bay Area. Disappointing to lose a core, anchor employer in biotech.

  • Sonny Kwan

    That is odd timing… Just a couple months ago.. Amgen hosted the Tour of California which must have costs thousands if not a few million to put together, then to drop this bombshell on their long time dedicated employees and the City of Seattle economy. Why not save that money and help shift employees to different sectors and /or companies and help the people who have helped Amgen Seattle/Colorado success through the years of profit.?

    • KG18

      That’s an interesting gesture – but a tour like that doesn’t happen all the time. Labor and location costs are never-ending. The money for that tour wouldn’t cover those for very long.

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