Commercial Horizon Therapeutics to be sold to Amgen in a...

Horizon Therapeutics to be sold to Amgen in a $26.4B agreement


Amgen is splurging over $26B to acquire Irish biopharma firm Horizon Therapeutics as a doorway into the rare disease treatments game.

The biotech drugmaker stated that it will pay a per-share amount of $116.50 for the company. Horizon has made a thyroid eye disease treatment that generated over a billion dollars on the market in its first complete year. After the news broke out, Horizon shares lunged 15% upwards.

Founded 42 years ago in 1980, Amgen is an American biopharma multinational firm that operates out of Thousand Oaks, California. It has numerous subsidiaries across the globe which include Onyx Pharma, Rodeo Therapeutics, Immunex, and Five Prime Therapeutics, among others. The Amgen umbrella employs just under 25,000 people around the world.

Horizon Therapeutics is a comparatively new biopharma company that was founded in 2005, 17 years ago following the autoimmune condition diagnosis of CEO Tim Walbert. The company operates out of Dublin, Leinster, Ireland. The number of people the company employs is around 2,000, which is only 8% of the employee strength of Amgen. 

Horizon Therapeutics is known for developing possible remedies for rare autoimmune and severe inflammatory ailments. The company’s best-seller, Tepezza, which is used to remedy double vision and protruding eye due to thyroid eye disease, and is only approved in the United States. Regulators from the U.S. approved the drug at the start of 2020 as the first treatment for the condition. Tepezza sales increased over twofold last year to $1.67B which is almost half of the company’s entire sales, which were $3.23B

‘Orphan drug’ status was given to Tepezza by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The status includes financial premiums as well as exclusive marketing. These benefits are meant to encourage drug manufacturers to also focus on rare disease medications. Another drug under Horizon’s belt is Krystexxa, which is for uncontrolled gout. It also saw massive sales growth of 39% up to $565.5M in comparison to last year.

Apart from Horizon’s acquisition, the company revealed that it was also in early-stage talks of acquiring the Janssen division of Johnson & Johnson, and the French drug manufacturer Sanofi as well. 

Amgen had confirmed the ongoing discussions regarding the acquisition and also stated that any offer that the company makes for Horizon Therapeutics would probably be in cash.

This acquisition deal will provide Amgen with another opportunity to shape its rare-disease treatment portfolio following the October acquisition of ChemoCentryx, a company that concentrates on autoimmune disease medication. The ChemoCentryx acquisition knocked Amgen back about $3.7B.

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