U.S. healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson will buy Swiss biotech company Actelion in a $30 billion all-cash deal that includes spinning off Actelion's research and development pipeline. Ivor Bennett reports
The drugs Actelion makes treat rare diseases. Pulmonary hypertension for example is thought to affect less than 1 in 20,000. But that's exactly what makes the Swiss firm attractive. High-prices, high-margins that Johnson and Johnson has agreed to buy for 30 billion dollars. SOUNDBITE (English) JEREMY COOK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, WORLD FIRST, SAYING: "Actelion is the darling of European biotech. You don't get much better than Actelion. The drugs that they have created for hypertension, pulmonary hypertension, are industry leaders. You know, you're buying into the expertise this company can provide." The deal values Actelion's shares at 280 dollars. 23 percent more than Wednesday's close. And more than 80 percent over where they were when takeover talks began in November. But even so, the deal doesn't include Actelion's R&D unit. That's being spun off as a separate company led by the firm's founder. But Johnson & Johnson clearly feel it's money well spent. A look ahead, perhaps, to prices post-Trump. SOUNDBITE (English) JEREMY COOK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, WORLD FIRST, SAYING: "You'd have to say if the Trump Presidency's for anything, it's keeping intellectual property within the United States and profiting from that. So it'll be interesting whether we start to see pharmaceutical prices outside of the US rise as a result." Shares already have - Actelion's stock jumping 20 percent on news of the sale.