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Amgen suspends Irish factory plans

October 04, 2007|From Bloomberg News

Amgen Inc. said Wednesday it canceled plans for a $1-billion manufacturing plant in Ireland and would eliminate all 75 company jobs in the country.

The decision is linked to the "evolving business environment," the Thousand Oaks-based company said. Amgen said it would shut down its operations in Ireland while plans for the plant were postponed indefinitely.

Amgen in early 2006 said it would spend more than $1 billion on the new manufacturing facility, which would have employed about 1,100 people in Cork. The plant was intended to produce drugs such as its Aranesp and Epogen anemia treatments.

Amgen shares have dropped 18% this year after studies showed the anemia treatments raised the risk of heart attack, stroke and death at high doses. The stock regained some losses in the last month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the medicines should continue to be given to patients at a maximum limit.

For Ireland, the company's decision may raise concerns about the economy at a time when a cooling housing boom is already slowing growth. The International Monetary Fund last month warned that the economy may be threatened by inflationary pressures and declining competitiveness that could deter investment.

"Amgen's decision has been made as a result of a review of Amgen's operations and is based purely on developments related to the company's global business," Irish Trade Minister Micheal Martin said.

It is "in no way related to the economic or competitive environment in Ireland," he said.

Shares of Amgen fell 52 cents to $55.52.

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