EU approves Johnson & Johnson's $30bn purchase of Actelion Pharmaceuticals


The $30bn deal will go ahead (Source: Getty)

The European Commission today approved the planned sale of Swiss pharmaceuticals firm Actelion to Johnson & Johnson (J&J), subject to conditions.

EU regulators qualified the sale of Europe's biggest biotech firm on the basis that clinical development of the innovative insomnia drugs both companies are making will not be adversely affected by the merger.

"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," said Margrethe Vestager, commissioner for competition policy.

The $30bn (£23.6bn) deal was first announced back in January and was said to be the biggest acquisition by J&J on record.

Under the Commission's terms, Actelion's insomnia programme will be transferred to a new company, Idorsia, in which J&J will own a 32 per cent stake.

"The investigation found that Johnson & Johnson could still have influenced Actelion's strategic decisions since it would be an important shareholder and finance provider of Idorsia," the Commission said.

The American company's insomnia research programme will be co-developed with a third party, Minerva Neruosciences, which will commercialise the product in Europe.

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