AbbVie says purchase of Allergan delayed as US antitrust regulator "likely" to issue decision in Q2

AbbVie disclosed Tuesday that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is "likely" to issue a decision on its review of the company's proposed $63-billion purchase of Allergan early in the second quarter. The drugmakers had previously indicated that the merger would complete in the first quarter. 

According to AbbVie, while the FTC review is not subject to a specific timeline, the companies have now entered into a timing agreement with FTC staff as the agency continues to review the merger. AbbVie added that the drugmakers "intend to close the transaction at the earliest possible date." 

The disclosure came alongside an announcement that the European Commission approved the divestiture of brazikumab to AstraZeneca. Financial terms for the sale have not been disclosed, but AbbVie said the deal "clears the pathway" for its Allergan takeover in Europe, where regulators okayed the merger earlier this year. AstraZeneca had out-licensed the IL-23 inhibitor, currently in Phase IIb/III testing for Crohn's disease and mid-stage testing for ulcerative colitis, to Allergan in 2016 as it was deemed to be outside of the UK company's main focus areas. 

Meanwhile, Allergan said in January that it had also agreed to divest the pancreatic enzyme drug Zenpep (pancrelipase) to Nestlé. 

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