AbbVie has released an update on its pending acquisition of Allergan, announcing that the companies have entered into a consent decree agreement with staff of the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the deal.

Under the terms of the $63 billion purchase, the drugmakers have said that, as previously disclosed, the experimental IL-23 inhibitor brazikumab will be divested to AstraZeneca, while the pancreatic enzyme products Zenpep (pancrelipase) and Viokace (pancrelipase) would be offloaded to Nestlé.

Last year, AbbVie claimed that the primary aim of the merger is to achieve a "diversified product portfolio [that] meets our strategic goal to reduce reliance on Humira", as Humira – AbbVie’s blockbuster and also the world’s best-selling drug – gradually loses its patenting around the world, starting in Europe last year.

The companies also said that combining Allergan’s diversified on-market product portfolio with AbbVie’s growth platform and expertise in R&D, commercial strength and international footprint will create a leading biopharmaceutical company with approximately $48 billion in combined 2019 revenue, whilst also enhancing AbbVie’s ability for robust investment in its industry-leading pipeline of innovative therapies.

Despite the two businesses putting planning in place, 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.