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Amgen Named Best Place to Work in Med Sales

What’s the best big biotech company for jobs in medical sales? According to sales reps surveyed by pharmaceutical job site MedReps, Thousand Oaks-based Amgen Inc. is No. 1. “(Biotech) reps cite merit-based compensation and product development as some of the reasons they love their jobs,” said MedReps, a subsidiary of health care career website provider Healthcare Staffing Technologies. “Others are mostly impressed by the workplace culture.” The average base salary for a sales representative at Amgen is roughly $102,000, according to Glassdoor Inc., an online job database. The estimate is based on information reported by current and former Amgen employees. According to the MedReps survey, biotech sales representatives viewed compensation as the main factor in choosing a company for which to work. Solid product lines and a focus on innovation were also important to job satisfaction, the survey said. “We are honored to be named as a ‘best place to work’ for medical reps,” Laura Hamill, senior vice president of business operations at Amgen, told the Business Journal. In other company news, the biopharma giant said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Dec. 22 that it expects its federal tax bill to be between $6 billion and $6.5 billion over time as it moves cash from its overseas holdings back into the U.S., a stipulation of the Tax Cuts Act signed the same day by President Donald Trump. The firm does not anticipate the tax bill will affects its adjusted earnings forecast, according to the SEC filing. Atara Gets Greenlight Atara Biotherapeutics Inc., a South San Francisco biopharmaceutical company with research and development facilities in Westlake Village, has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin conducting two late-stage clinical trials on its antiviral drug tabelecleucel. “We expect tabelecleucel to be the first off-the-shelf T-cell immunotherapy to begin Phase 3 clinical development in the U.S.,” Chief Executive Dr. Isaac Ciechanover said in a statement. “Receiving clearance to initiate these studies is a significant milestone for Atara.” Atara specializes in developing T-cell immunotherapies, which target and destroy diseased cells in patients with compromised immune systems. Tabelecleucel is designed to combat conditions associated with the Epstein-Barr virus, a lifelong virus that is estimated to affect up to 95 percent of U.S. adults. Epstein-Barr infection can lead to complications following organ transplant as well as certain types of cancers. The drug was designated a “breakthrough therapy” by the FDA, meaning that early clinical data suggests that it shows significant promise over current treatments for a serious condition. Breakthrough therapies are fast-tracked through the agency’s review and approval process. The clinical studies will assess tabelecleucel’s effects in two populations. One will involve patients who develop an Epstein-Barr-related condition that arises following the transplant of stem cells, while the other will look at patients who develop the same complication after a solid organ transplant. Patients in both trials will have shown resistance to first-line treatment for the condition. Atara will begin enrolling trial subjects “imminently” at domestic health care centers and plans to later expand to sites in Europe, Canada and Australia. The company expects to have results by the first half of 2019. AV Hospital’s COO Antelope Valley Hospital closed out the year with a higher credit rating and a new chief operations officer. Moody’s Investors Services bumped Antelope Valley Hospital’s credit rating up in mid-December from “negative” to “stable,” citing a change in governance structure and stronger cash flow. Weak operations performance and poor cash flow had prompted the agency to downgrade the hospital’s rating in 2014. A week after announcing its improved credit status, the hospital appointed one of the main figures navigating its financial turnaround, Colette Menzel, as its new chief operations officer. Menzel, who has served as chief financial officer for 10 months and will remain in the post, negotiated the improved credit ratings with Moody’s, the hospital said in a statement. “This highly significant increase in rating reflects (Antelope Valley Hospital’s) strong market position as a provider of unique and higher acuity services in a market with challenging demographics and high reliance on supplemental funding,” Chief Executive Michael Wall said in a statement. Long-term, Menzel will also succeed Wall as chief executive, the hospital said. Wall currently has no timeline for stepping down from his position. Menzel is a lifelong Antelope Valley resident who serves on the board of the Antelope Valley Boys and Girls Clubs and the Antelope Valley Board of Trade. She previously was vice president of finance at Corra, a creative branding agency that specializes in e-commerce. Staff reporter Helen Floersh can be reached at [email protected] or at (818) 316-3121.

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