AstraZeneca closing two ex-Amgen CO sites, 210 jobs hit

Two Colorado facilities acquired from Amgen will be closed as AstraZeneca looks to consolidate drug substance manufacturing at its site in Frederick, Maryland.

Anglo-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca is ending operations at its facility in Boulder, Colorado and the nearby Longmont plant less than four years after acquiring them from Amgen.

The decision to shutter the sites was made as part of AstraZeneca’s biomanufacturing consolidation strategy, a spokesperson from the firm told BioProcess Insider.

AZ is closing two sites in Colorado. Image: iStock/Milenius

“AstraZeneca has made the decision to consolidate the biologics manufacturing network in one large-scale drug substance facility – our site currently operating in Frederick, Maryland,” we were told.

“As neither Boulder or Longmont are currently licensed for commercial operations, there is no need to transfer supply to another manufacturing facility.”

According to a Colorado state Worker Readjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notice from January 8, the closures will result in a total layoff of 210 staff.

AstraZeneca confirmed this will be the case, saying “those employees will exit the organization 22 March with full decommissioning of the facilities to be completed by Q4 2019.”

No decision has been made as to the future of the sites, but the firm said both facilities will be preserved for potential sale.

From Amgen to AZ

AstraZeneca acquired the LakeCentre facility in Boulder from fellow Big Pharma firm Amgen back in September 2015.

At the time the firm said the plant would be “operational and licensed for commercial production by late 2017, providing for additional capacity within the company’s biologics operations.” Expansion plans to double the facility’s capacity were also laid out.

The Longmont plant was acquired in October 2016, also from Amgen, to further support AstraZeneca’s biomanufacturing ambitions.

Under their previous owner, the plants made and supported bulk drug substance production of Amgen’s blockbuster biologics Epogen (Epoetin) alfa and Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa).

AstraZeneca has regularly invested in its Frederick, Maryland site to support its biologics programs. In 2014, the firm pumped more than $200 million (€174 million) into the site. Last March, the firm pledged to add a further 100 jobs at the site.

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