European Commission approves Johnson & Johnson’s proposed acquisition of Actelion


The European Commission (EC) has granted approval for the proposed acquisition of Swiss-based pharmaceuticals and biotechnology company Actelion by Johnson & Johnson.

Approved under the European Union (EU) merger regulation, the transaction is subject to conditions ensuring that clinical development of innovative insomnia drugs of the two companies will not be adversely affected by the acquisition.

Johnson & Johnson has received all regulatory approvals required to complete the transaction.

The transaction's settlement will be conducted by Johnson & Johnson’s Swiss subsidiary Janssen Holding, which will purchase all publicly held shares of Actelion for $280 per share.

EC 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.”

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

While the transaction was notified to the EC on 12 April this year, the commission granted approval after conducting investigation focused on two areas, treatments for multiple sclerosis and treatments for insomnia, where the medicinal products and research programmes of the two firms compete.

For multiple sclerosis treatments, Johnson & Johnson distributes Biogen's products in several central and eastern European countries.

However, Actelion’s treatment for the disease is currently under development and is expected to be used in a different setting other than Biogen's therapies.

In the case of treatments for insomnia, both companies are developing their treatments based on a novel mechanism of action.

A very limited number of medicines with the new mechanism of action are currently being developed.

Actelion's insomnia research programme would be transferred before the merger to newly established Swiss biopharmaceutical company Idorsia, in which Johnson & Johnson would hold a minority stake of up to 32%.