Actelion, Specializing in PAH Treatments, to Be Purchased by Johnson & Johnson for $30B

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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Actelion, which manufactures treatments for conditions like pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), will be acquired by Johnson & Johnson for $30 billion. The board of directors of both companies agreed to the transaction, said Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson.

“We believe this transaction offers compelling value to both Johnson & Johnson and Actelion shareholders,” Gorsky said in a press release. “Actelion has built an attractive, growing business with world-class commercial and clinical development capabilities.”

Actelion’s main products include Opsumit (macitentan) and Uptravi (selexipag), both approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2013 and January 2016, respectively, for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

Opsumit is an endothelin receptor antagonist (ERA) which ensures vasodilation amidst the constricted blood vessels in the pulmonary arterial endothelium, and restores normal blood flow through the pulmonary artery. Opsumit blocks the binding of the endothelin protein to its receptors.

Uptravi is a highly selective oral prostacyclin receptor (IP) agonist. Activation of the IP receptor induces vasodilation, which in turn relaxes muscles in the walls of blood vessels, decreases blood pressure in the vessels supplying blood to the lungs, and inhibits the growth and proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells.

Before completing the acquisition, Actelion will spin off its drug discovery operations and early-stage clinical development assets into R&D NewCo, a Swiss biopharmaceutical company.

Johnson & Johnson will hold 16 percent of the equity in the new company and have rights to an additional 16 percent, resulting in 1 billion Swiss francs being made available to R&D NewCo when the transaction is completed.

Included in this arrangement is the additional option on ACT-132577, a product currently under development by R&D NewCo for the treatment of resistant hypertension.

“Adding Actelion’s portfolio to our already strong Janssen Pharmaceuticals business is a unique opportunity for us to expand our portfolio with leading, differentiated in-market medicines and promising late-stage products,” Gorsky said.

“We expect to leverage our established global presence and commercial strength to accelerate growth and patient access to these important therapies,” he added. “Further, we believe R&D NewCo will be strongly positioned to continue Actelion’s legacy of innovation and look forward to collaborating on the development of cutting-edge new therapies.”

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