J&J Back in Talks with Actelion
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Johnson & Johnson has confirmed that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with Actelion, an Allschwil, Switzerland-based biopharmaceutical company, regarding a potential transaction. For its part, Actelion also confirmed the exclusive negotiations with J&J.

The two companies previously entered initial discussions in November 2016 regarding a potential transaction, but those initial discussions were called off. The companies have since re-entered negotiations.

J&J said in a statement issued on December 21, 2016: “There can be no assurance any transaction will result from these discussions. Johnson & Johnson does not intend to make any additional comments regarding these discussions unless and until it is appropriate to do so, or a formal agreement has been reached.”

Actelion also issued a similar company statement on December 21, 2016.

Actelion is focused on the field of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a chronic, disorder characterized by abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries between the heart and lungs. The PAH franchise leads Actelion’s product sales and encompasses oral, inhaled, and intravenous formulations of compounds for patients at various stages of the disease. For the first nine months of 2016, Acetlion’s product sales rose to CHF 1.785 billion ($1.737 billion). In 2015, the company’s product sales crossed the $2-billion mark for the first time with sales of CHF 2.042 billion ($1.987 billion). Its top-selling product is Tracleer (bosentan), an orally available endothelin receptor antagonist for treating PAH, which posted 2015 sales of CHF 1.212 billion ($1.179 billion).

For J&J, an acquisition or stake in Actelion would add a rare-disease focus to the company’s pharmaceutical business, which posted 2015 sales of $31.4 billion. J&J is focused on five therapeutic areas: immunology (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriasis); infectious diseases and vaccines (e.g., HIV, hepatitis, respiratory infections, and tuberculosis), neuroscience (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, mood disorders, and schizophrenia), oncology (e.g., prostate cancer, hematologic malignancies, and lung cancer), and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (e.g., thrombosis and diabetes).

Immunology is J&J’s largest therapeutic franchise with 2015 sales of $10.4 billion, and it is in this franchise that it faces generic competition for its top-selling product, Remicade (infliximab), an anti-inflammatory drug. Remicade posted 2015 sales of $6.56 billion and is facing biosimilar competition in certain markets outside the US and pending competition in the US.

Source: Johnson & Johnson and Actelion

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