Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

EC approves Johnson & Johnson's $30bn acquisition of Actelion

PBR Staff Writer Published 12 June 2017

The European Commission (EC) has approved Johnson & Johnson's proposed $30bn acquisition of Actelion Pharmaceuticals, subject to conditions

J&J signed an agreement in January this year to acquire Actelion, which develops and commercializes new drugs for diseases with significant unmet medical need.

With the EC approval, the company has now received all regulatory approvals required to complete the purchase.

According to EC, the decision is subject to conditions assuring that clinical development of their innovative insomnia drugs will not be adversely affected by the merger.

Both firms are currently involved in the development of treatments for insomnia, which are based on a novel mechanism of action.

EC competition policy commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: “Effective competition is important to stimulate research and development of innovative drugs, to the benefit of patients and our healthcare systems.

“Our decision makes sure that the development of innovative insomnia drugs will continue following the Johnson & Johnson and Actelion merger.”

Under the deal, Actelion will spin out its drug discovery operations and early-stage clinical development assets into a newly created Swiss biopharmaceutical firm.

J&J will initially hold 16% of the shares of the new company, with an option to buy another 16%. It will be led by Actelion CEO and co-founder Jean-Paul Clozel.

The deal will add J&J with Actelion's existing PAH franchise, which includes its Opsumit, Uptravi, Tracleer, Veletri, and Ventavis.

Other products included in the deal are Valchlor (mechlorethamine gel) to treat stage IA and IB mycosis fungoides-type cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (MF-CTCL), and Zavesca (miglustat),which is  a reversible inhibitor of glucosylceramide synthase to treat adult patients with mild to moderate type 1 Gaucher disease.


Image: Johnson & Johnson headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Photo: courtesy of Nikopoley.