Watson Pharmaceuticals' 4.30 billion euro acquisition of Actavis is pretty much done and dusted now that antitrust regulators in the USA approved the deal, with conditions.
The Federal Trade Commission has voted unanimously to approve the purchase of Switzerland-based Actavis after Watson agreed to divest 21 assets, including 18 to rival generics players - Novartis' Sandoz unit (4 products) and Par Pharmaceuticals (14). The firm also has to relinquish the manufacturing and marketing rights to three others.
Seven involve generics that are currently sold, including versions of GlaxoSmithKline’s smoking cessation drug Zyban (bupropion) Johnson & Johnson's fentanyl patch system for chromic pain and Bayer's Adalat (nifedipine) for hypertension and angina. Some eight other products need to be divested as "they would significantly reduce competition in the future", claimed the FTC, for certain generics, including copies of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder treatments from Shire and J&J, namely Adderall XR (mixed amphetamine salts) and Concerta (methylphenidate) respectively.
The other products are six drugs that are in development by both Watson and Actavis. They include a topical treatment for acne, an extended-release patch used to treat Alzheimer’s and dementia resulting from Parkinson’s disease and generic versions of Purdue Pharma/Mundipharma/Napp Pharmaceuticals' tamper-resistant painkiller OxyContin (oxycodone) and Pfizer’s smoking cessation drug Chantix (varenicline).
The FTC approval comes just after the European Commission gave the green light to the deal which will see Watson become the third largest global generics company with 2012 revenues of approximately $8 billion.