FTC Files Lawsuit To Stop Amgen Buying Horizon Therapeutics, Sending Shockwaves Through Biopharma M&A

In a rare move to block a large pharma deal, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission would sue to stop Amgen Inc's AMGN $28 billion takeover of Horizon Therapeutics PLC HZNP.

Reuters reported that the FTC said Amgen could use its solid position to pressure insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers into favorable terms for Horizon's two key products - thyroid eye disease treatment Tepezza and gout drug Krystexxa.

FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova, in the Reuters report, called the lawsuit "the FTC's first challenge to a pharmaceutical merger in recent memory."

"Rampant consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry has given powerful companies a pass to exorbitantly hike prescription drug prices, deny patients access to more affordable generics, and hamstring innovation in life-saving markets," she added.

"Amgen is disappointed by the FTC's decision and remains committed to completing this acquisition, which will bring significant benefits to patients suffering from very serious rare diseases in the U.S. and around the world..." Amgen said in a statement.

"We have been working cooperatively over the past several months to address the questions raised by the FTC's investigative staff and believe we have overwhelmingly demonstrated that this combination poses no legitimate competitive issues," Amgen added.

Seagen Inc SGEN shares are also down 5.14% at $189.30 amid increased concerns that the FTC could block Pfizer Inc's PFE deal worth $43 billion.

Merck & Co Inc MRK also agreed to acquire Prometheus Biosciences Inc RXDX for around $11 billion.

Price Action: HNZP shares are down 15.70% at $94.66, and AMGN shares are down 1.91% at $229.04 on the last check Tuesday.

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