AbbVie Moves Closer to Finalizing Pending $63-Bn Acquisition of Allergan
AbbVie has moved closer to finalizing its pending $63-billion acquisition of Allergan following approval by the European Commission of the divestiture of Allergan’s brazikumab, an investigational drug to treat autoimmune diseases, to AstraZeneca. The European Commission’s approval of AbbVie’s acquisition of Allergan in January 2020 was conditional upon the divestiture of brazikumab to a suitable purchaser. The transaction remains subject to additional customary closing conditions, but the European Commission’s final approval clears the pathway in Europe to close the pending transaction.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) continues to review the pending transaction, which is not subject to a specific timeline. AbbVie, however, reports that the companies have entered into a timing agreement with FTC staff that would likely result in a decision by the FTC early in the second quarter of 2020. The companies say they continue to fully cooperate with the FTC during its review and intend to close the transaction at the earliest possible date. Closing the transaction is also subject to Irish High Court approval.
In January 2020, AstraZeneca and Allergan reached a deal under which AstraZeneca would recover the global rights to brazikumab. AstraZeneca and Allergan agreed to terminate an existing license agreement and have all rights to brazikumab revert to AstraZeneca. That deal was expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020, subject to regulatory approvals associated with AbbVie’s proposed acquisition of Allergan and its timely completion.
Brazikumab is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the IL23 receptor and is in development for treating Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis with a companion biomarker. Brazikumab is in Phase IIb/III development for evaluating it in treating Crohn’s disease and is Phase II development for evaluating it in treating ulcerative colitis.