Pharmaceutical giant Amgen said Tuesday it will lay off 350 employees of Horizon Therapeutics, many of them based in Deerfield, less than three weeks after it completed its $27.8 billion acquisition of Horizon.
The biotech company has about 2,000 employees globally, and Amgen emphasized that it is retaining more than 80% of them.
Those being cut have roles that overlap with existing teams, Amgen said. It said the Deerfield site currently has about 700 workers.
“Separation dates will vary through December 2024, with no end dates before December 30, 2023, as a result of the communications this week,” the company said in a statement. “We do not take these decisions lightly, and we appreciate the contributions of those employees being impacted. We will treat them with respect and offer support through the process.”
Since the announcement of the buyout, there has been speculation about the future of Horizon’s U.S. headquarters at 1 Horizon Way, near Lake Cook Road and I-94.
However, Amgen spokesperson Jessica Akopyan said Tuesday the company is committed to the location. “Horizon has made a significant investment in the Chicago community, and we are committed to a footprint in Deerfield,” she said. Amgen is based in Thousand Oaks, California.
When the transaction closed Oct. 6, Amgen’s chairman and CEO, Robert Bradway, said, “Today marks an exciting milestone as we welcome Horizon employees to Amgen and begin working together to serve even more patients around the world suffering from serious illnesses. We have strong momentum in our core business and the addition of Horizon will further position Amgen as a leader across a broader range of diseases.”
Bradway will take over Horizon’s operations from Tim Walbert, a longtime favorite in the Chicago tech sector because he moved Horizon from California to Chicago years ago. Since then, he has been a regular on lists of the highest-paid pharmaceutical executives.
Walbert is getting a rich payday from the completion of the sale, which valued Horizon at $116.50 per share. His stake in the company entitles him to a payout of $80.8 million, and a company filing showed he was due for another $50 million worth of restricted shares that hadn’t vested as of the end of 2022.