Amgen has successfully concluded its monumental $27.8 billion acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics, triumphing over a legal challenge posed by the US antitrust watchdog.
The announcement of this significant milestone came from the California-based pharmaceutical giant on a momentous Friday, following the formal approval from the High Court of Ireland the day prior.
Originally unveiled in late 2022, Amgen had initially anticipated closing the deal within the first half of 2023. However, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disrupted these plans in May by filing a lawsuit to block the transaction. The FTC’s argument centred on concerns that Amgen might exploit its existing blockbuster medications alongside Horizon’s rare disease products during reimbursement negotiations, potentially putting competitors at a disadvantage.
Last month, the protracted legal battle reached a resolution as Amgen clarified that it could not bundle these drugs under the existing US healthcare framework and pledged not to do so. Horizon Therapeutics brought with it a portfolio of commercially successful products that significantly bolster Amgen’s autoimmune product offerings. Among them are Tepezza, designed for thyroid eye disease; Krystexxa, intended for gout; and the CD19-targeted therapy Uplizna, all of which boast blockbuster peak sales projections.
Also Read: Amgen Seals The Deal With Horizon For $28 Billion, Expanding Its Portfolio Of Rare Disease Drugs
Despite these promising prospects, some investors have raised questions about whether Amgen may have paid an excessively high price for this acquisition.
Following a somewhat disappointing first quarter, Horizon posted encouraging second-quarter results. Tepezza, in particular, exceeded expectations with sales totaling $446 million, surpassing analysts’ projections by 9%. Krystexxa and Uplizna also outperformed consensus estimates by 26% and 32%, respectively.
This robust revenue momentum holds considerable appeal for Amgen, especially at a time when its top-selling drug, Enbrel, faces challenges due to biosimilars competing against AbbVie’s Humira in the anti-TNF category. Additionally, Otezla, an oral psoriasis drug that contributes significantly to Amgen’s autoimmune business, has shown signs of slowing down amid competition from Bristol Myers Squibb’s Sotyktu and newer biologics.
The acquisition of Horizon marks the latest addition to Amgen’s ongoing merger and acquisition spree, driven by its pursuit of growth opportunities. Prior to the Horizon deal last year, Amgen acquired ChemoCentryx for $3.7 billion, securing Tavneos, an approved treatment for the rare autoimmune disease known as anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis.
Amgen’s acquisition of Otezla, another blockbuster product, took place in 2019 through a $13.4 billion deal. In 2021, Amgen continued its M&A activity with swift acquisitions of Five Prime Therapeutics, Rodeo Therapeutics, and Teneobio.
Now that Amgen has successfully navigated past the challenges posed by the FTC, industry observers are closely monitoring Pfizer’s ambitious $43 billion bid for Seagen. The FTC, in what is termed a “second request,” sought additional information about the deal in July. Meanwhile, the European Commission has set October 19 as the decision date for its antitrust review, marking another significant milestone in the world of pharmaceutical mergers and acquisitions.