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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

OC-Based Drugmakers Increase Employment 3%

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The biggest drugmakers with headquarters or significant operations in Orange County employed 2,861 here at the close of the year ended July 30, up nearly 3% from a year earlier.

One firm reported a decline, six reported growth, and the remaining two are Business Journal estimates. Dublin-based Mallinckrodt PLC closed its Anaheim operation. It employed 27 this time last year.

n Allergan PLC keeps the first place position with 1,400 workers here, despite reducing employment by 100.

The pharmaceutical company is chartered in Ireland and operates primarily from its U.S. headquarters in Parsippany, N.J. Companywide employment grew 12.5% to 18,000.

Irvine is home to Allergan’s U.S. Specialized Therapeutics portfolio, which includes medical aesthetics, plastic surgery, therapeutic Botox and eye care.

“The layoffs in Irvine center around R&D positions associated with R&D pipeline prioritization decisions as well as opportunities to gain additional efficiencies in our organizational structure,” a company spokesperson said.

Allergan has taken steps to reduce internal research and development spending and infrastructure following its acquisition by Actavis PLC. It now focuses more on partnering with or acquiring external technologies to scale.

“When we looked at where innovation comes from and how innovation in health care is best accomplished, we believed it was better to tap into these very vast ecosystems of innovators,” wrote Chief Executive Brent Saunders. He said the company doesn’t limit where it sources the innovations, including from academic research centers, private companies and research spinouts of larger pharmaceutical companies.

• Newly ranked Dendreon Pharmaceuticals LLC is No. 6 with 178 employees, up 39% from a year earlier. It recently returned to OC following its sale to Nanjing-based Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group Co. Ltd. in July.

Dendreon makes Provenge, a prostate-cancer therapy that received Food and Drug Administration approval in 2010. The company filed for bankruptcy and was acquired by Valeant Pharmaceuticals in 2015 for $495 million. Valeant sold it two years later to Sanpower for $819.9 million.

As part of the sale, Dendreon moved its headquarters from Bridgewater, N.J. to Seal Beach, where it had an existing manufacturing facility. The company also has a factory in Union City, Ga.

• Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries and Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc. swapped places, ranking No. 2 and No. 3 this year, respectively.

Teva moved up one spot with 316 employees, growing nearly 15% from 275 employees a year earlier. The Israeli pharmaceutical company added 41 employees to its Irvine facility, which manufactures injectables.

A company spokesperson said new hires were prompted by increased production volume.

Tustin-based Peregrine fell one spot to No. 3, reporting 303 workers, up 2% from 297 a year earlier. The company has two businesses: a clinical-stage drug development pipeline for its immunotherapy drug candidate bavituximab, and a cash-generating manufacturing business.

Peregrine announced last month that it will reduce its workforce by 20%, or 60 employees, in October. It’s working with investors to restructure the company, including possibly separating manufacturing from its drug development business.

• Par Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Irvine and Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Aliso Viejo held their spots at No. 4 and No. 5.

Par added 40 employees to its Irvine facility, up 15% from 260. The facility, comprised of 128,000 square feet of leased space, primarily manufactures extended-release generic drugs.

“The increase in staffing has been in the manufacturing and quality areas,” a company spokesperson said.

Avanir, which was acquired by Japan-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. in 2015 for $3.5 billion, employs 192 here, up 39% from 138. The company develops drugs for central nervous system disorders, two of which are FDA-approved, its Nuedexta, which is used to treat pseudobulbar affect, a neurological disorder characterized by uncontrollable laughing and/or crying, and Onzetra Xsail, a nasal powder for migraines.

• Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc., Stason Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International rank No. 7, No. 8 and No. 9, respectively.

Growth was flat at Spectrum and Valeant, which maintained 87 and 15 employees in Irvine, respectively. Stason employs 70 in Irvine, up 16.7% from a year earlier. It makes generic drugs.

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