The global biopharmaceutical company Amgen had little more than a few dozen employees when it started up in Breda in 1997. It has grown to well over 500 since that time. What began as Amgen's European Logistics Center has now developed into a campus that is home to five Amgen organizations: Commercial and Clinical Operations, part of the Global Supply Chain organization, International Information Systems, Finance Shared Services and the Dutch medical and marketing affiliate.
Amgen is a leading producer of biotechnological, protein-based medicines, targeted at combating grievous illness, including kidney disease, cancer and inflammatory diseases. The company, founded in California in 1980, regards its mission as discovering, developing and delivering innovative medicines for people with serious illnesses. Medicines with which Amgen has made breakthroughs include, among others, Aranesp®, Neulasta®, Neupogen®, Vectibix®, Prolia®, Xgeva® and Mimpara®.
With approximately 17,000 staff members worldwide, Amgen is one of the largest biotechnology companies in the world. Its headquarters is located in Thousand Oaks, California. Production and filling of clinical and bulk medicines is done in the US and Puerto Rico. From there, Amgen’s drug products for the European and other markets are shipped to Breda, where they are finished and ultimately distributed to more than 55 countries.
When in the 1990s Amgen was looking for a location for its European distribution center, it selected Breda in Brabant. Jan Bouman, Executive Director Site Operations and site leader at Amgen Breda, says: “There were various motives at the time for this choice. Generally speaking, its favorable labor climate argued in favor of the Netherlands, which also boasts a large English-speaking population. Additional benefits of Brabant and Breda included logistics, such as excellent infrastructure and the proximity of major international carriers, its location between the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, and the proximity of various major airports such as Amsterdam, Brussels, Cologne and Dusseldorf.”
These favorable location factors still apply some 15 years after the launch. The number of countries that Amgen serves from Breda has grown quickly in recent years, and will grow even further in the coming years. Its drugs are shipped from Breda to West and East European countries, and also to countries in the Middle East, South-America, Australia and Africa. Its logistics activities include distribution, assembly, design, packaging and labeling. The entire process of value-added logistics in Breda encompasses a high level of quality control due to the requirements set for these drugs, such as constant temperature between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius (36 and 47 degrees Fahrenheit). In addition, the requirements for packaging and international regulation make the Amgen operation in Breda a company whose focus is always on high quality and fulfillment of the needs of its patients.
Amgen Breda’s headquarters building and distribution center is quite an attention-getter, both for its striking and sophisticated architecture and its highly visible location. The company location in Breda has also become one of the most important Amgen locations in the world.
Amgen is one of Breda's largest employers. The company feels right at home here and is deeply rooted in local and regional life. It was not merely chance that its motto, “We Care”, is expressed through a broader social dimension, such as an extensive volunteer work program, sponsorship of the Amgen Singelloop Breda city run and the ParaGamesBreda, an international sports event for physically handicapped athletes.