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28 January 2020Big PharmaEdward Pearcey

AbbVie’s pending Allergan takeover moves closer after drug divestments

Biopharmaceutical company  AbbVie’s pending purchase of pharmaceutical company  Allergan has moved a step closer, following the latter’s agreement to divest treatments brazikumab (IL-23 inhibitor) and Zenpep (pancrelipase), in a development meant to satisfy antitrust regulations in the US.

AstraZeneca will acquire brazikumab, a human antibody designed for the treatment of Crohn’s disease.  Nestlé will acquire, and take full ownership of, Zenpep, a prescription medication for people who can’t digest food normally because their pancreas does not make enough enzymes.

Both agreements require regulatory approval, related to the purchase by AbbiVie.

Nestlé also will be acquiring Viokace, another pancreatic enzyme preparation, as part of the same transaction.

“These definitive agreements represent significant progress toward the completion of our acquisition of Allergan,” said Richard A Gonzalez, chairman and chief executive officer, AbbVie.

AbbVie’s $63 billion  purchase of Allergan was first announced in the summer of last year.

Earlier in January, AbbVie and Allergan received conditional approval of the transaction by the European Commission, subject to the approved divestiture of brazikumab. The companies expect to see the closure of the transactions in the first quarter of 2020.

“Allergan’s commercial and research and development teams have invested so much of themselves into the development of brazikumab and the commercialization of Zenpep, and these divestitures will enable that work to continue,” said Brent Saunders, chairman and chief executive officer, Allergan.

Pancrelipase is composed of a mixture of pancreatic enzymes, extracted from porcine pancreatic glands. The mixture was developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Brazikumab was developed by  MedImmune, purchased by AstraZeneca in 2007.

The full agreement can be found  here.

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