RARE Daily

FTC Temporarily Withdraws Challenge to Amgen-Horizon Acquisition in Effort to Settle

August 28, 2023

Rare Daily Staff

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said it has temporarily withdrawn its administrative complaint of Amgen’s $28 billion acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics to explore the possibility of a settlement.

The acquisition represents the biggest M&A deal of the year for the biotech industry as a whole and the biggest M&A of a rare disease drug developer since AstraZeneca acquired Alexion in 2021.

The decision does not affect the hearing on the FTC’s separate motion for a preliminary injunction to prohibit the transaction, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and remains as scheduled for mid-September 2023.

The FTC has expressed concerns that the deal would give Amgen an opportunity to use rebates on its existing blockbuster drugs to pressure insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers to favor Horizon’s two products—Tepezza, used to treat thyroid eye disease, and Krystexxa, used to treat chronic refractory gout. Neither of these treatments have any competition in the pharmaceutical marketplace.

“We have been consistent with the Commission, the courts and the public that we have no reason, ability or intention to bundle Horizon’s Tepezza or Krystexxa with any of our products and will not do so,” Amgen said in a prepared statement. “We would be pleased if our commitment were honored instead of going through a lengthy court process. That said, we are prepared to demonstrate to the courts that there is no legal or factual reason to prohibit this acquisition of Horizon and to finally bring medicines to more patients suffering from rare diseases.”

For Amgen, the deal is a major step into the world of rare diseases therapeutics. It follows the company’s acquisition of ChemoCentryx for $4 billion in August 2022. The acquisition will broaden Amgen’s pipeline as the company faces biosimilar competition for some of its top drugs.

The company reiterated that it expects to close the acquisition by mid-December.

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