The proposed acquisition of German specialty drugmaker Schwarz by Belgium’s UCB moved a step closer to fruition yesterday after the European Commission ruled that there were no antitrust issues that would block the transaction.

The EC identified some minor overlaps in product portfolio between the two companies – in both over-the-counter and prescription drugs – but felt that these were insignificant and would not lead to a situation where the ability of rival companies to compete was at threat.

The European green light for the acquisition follows approval by the US Federal Trade Commission earlier this month.

UCB announced the 4.4 billion-euro acquisition in September, saying that it would create a major new biopharmaceutical company specialising in neurology, cancer and inflammatory disease treatments.

UCB alson announced the commencement of the acceptance period for the take-over of Schwarz, saying it will run between November 10 and December 8.