FTC preparing to block Amgen-Horizon Therapeutics deal, report says


Robert Galbraith | Reuters

Horizon TherapeuticsShares fell more than 17% in premarket trading on Tuesday after news the Federal Trade Commission is preparing to file a lawsuit to block the $27.8 billion sale of the biotech company amgen.

The FTC could sue to block that acquisition already on Tuesday Bloomberg reported citing an unnamed source.

An Amgen spokesman told CNBC the company was not aware of any FTC decision. Horizon Therapeutics officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC. The FTC declined to comment.

The two drugmakers said in February that the FTC sent them a second request for information about the acquisition as part of the Agency’s review of the transaction.

Amgen is based in Thousand Oaks, California closed the deal announced it would buy Horizon Therapeutics in early December and said it expects to close the sale in the first half of this year.

The move was an attempt to bolster Amgen’s drug portfolio while the company prepares several patent expirations for important treatments in the next decade.

This includes a patent for a Medicines to treat psoriasisan autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the skin.

Ireland-based Horizon would expand Amgen’s drug offering to include treatments for rare, autoimmune and severe inflammatory diseases.

Horizon carries two fast-growing drugs, including thyroid eye disease drug Tepezza and gout drug Krystexxa.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in January expressed concern on the potential impact of the deal on competition in the drug market.

The acquisition and another proposed merger in the biopharmaceutical industry — between Indivor and Opiant — “could further increase the price of life-saving drugs and prevent affordable alternatives from entering the market,” Warren said wrote in a letter to FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan and two agency commissioners.

She urged the FTC to “examine closely” the two deals.


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