Johnson & Johnson Completes Acquisition of Actelion, a Leader in Pulmonary Hypertension Therapies

Maria Verissimo, MSc avatar

by Maria Verissimo, MSc |

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Johnson & Johnson has completed its acquisition of Actelion, a company that develops pulmonary hypertension therapies, six months after the deal was announced in January.

Actelion is now part of J&J’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary, according to a news release.

Janssen pledged to maintain the leadership position that Actelion built in treating pulmonary hypertension.

“We believe this transaction offers compelling value to both Johnson & Johnson and Actelion shareholders,” Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of J&J, said in announcing the deal.

“Actelion has built an attractive, growing business with world-class commercial and clinical development capabilities,” Gorsky said. “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. We expect to leverage our established global presence and commercial strength to accelerate growth and patient access to these important therapies.”

The board members whom Actelion shareholders elected on April 5, 2017, will assume their positions now that the acquisition is complete. They are Chairman Ludo Ooms, Andrea Ostinelli, Claudio Cescato, Julian Bertschinger, and Pascal Hoorn.

Actelion was founded in 1997 by a small group of researchers and managers from RocheThe company has developed oral, inhaled and intravenous formulations of compounds to treat patients at various stages of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

It is also developing therapies for multiple sclerosis, digital ulcers, Niemann-Pick type C disease, Gaucher disease, a lymphoma known as mycosis fungoides, and infectious diseases such as Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea.

Actelion is in the midst of conducting four pulmonary-hypertension-related clinical trials. The Phase 2 MERIT-2 study (NCT02060721) is evaluating the effectiveness and safety of patients’ long-term use of Opsumit as a treatment for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension that doctors are unable to operate on.

Three Phase 3 trials are gauging Opsumit’s effectiveness in treating children with pulmonary arterial hypertension. They are TOMORROW (NCT02932410), PORTICO (NCT02382016), and RUBATO (NCT03153137).

No one has developed a cure for pulmonary arterial hypertension, but some therapies can help people manage the disease.