AbbVie expects Allergan takeover to close in May after entering consent decree with FTC

AbbVie and Allergan announced that they have entered into a consent decree agreement with staff of the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the companies' pending $63-billion merger. Under the terms of the deal, the drugmakers said that, as previously disclosed, the experimental IL-23 inhibitor brazikumab would be divested to AstraZeneca, while the pancreatic enzyme products Zenpep (pancrelipase) and Viokace (pancrelipase) would be offloaded to Nestlé.

The consent decree comes shortly after the European Commission approved the divestiture of brazikumab to AstraZeneca as part of AbbVie's proposed Allergan takeover, which the EU regulator cleared earlier this year. AbbVie and Allergan said they expect the acquisition to close in May, having revealed last month that completion would be delayed from the first quarter.

However, Bloomberg recently reported that mergers in the US may face further delays due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with the FTC indicating that it will seek extensions as needed. "FTC staff is fully operational, but the commission will not sacrifice the scope and thoroughness of its investigations due to current limitations and timing concerns," the agency said. 

Last year, Allergan moved to sell brazikumab, which is currently in development for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, as it was likely to compete closely with Skyrizi (risankizumab), an anti-IL-23 antibody being co-developed by AbbVie and Boehringer Ingelheim to treat multiple inflammatory diseases.

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