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News 197 views last update:7 Aug 2012

Update: Merck faces Johnson & Johnson rights obstacle

Johnson & Johnson, the US pharmaceuticals group, has a month to decide whether to try to claim back full rights over two pivotal medicines as a result of Merck's $41bn (£29.8bn) planned takeover of Schering-Plough according to Financial Times.

Documents filed with the US Securities & Exchange Commission give the timetable and conditions by which Johnson & Johnson could try to cancel its partnership with Schering-Plough for sales of the blockbuster anti-inflammatory drug Remicade and of golimumab, a newer version in development.
 
They show that Johnson & Johnson, which developed the two drugs through its subsidiary Centocor, can seek mandatory binding arbitration after 20 days’ notice if it considers there to have been a change in control at Schering-Plough.
 
Withdrawing the rights outside the US and Asia from Schering-Plough of Remicade would mark a sharp blow to Merck’s acquisition by reducing annual sales by more than $2bn and sacrificing sales forecast after launch in 2010 of golimumab of a further $1bn.
 
Bankers on Tuesday indicated that Merck might have to offer first refusal rights of Schering-Plough’s animal health products to Merial, Merck’s joint venture with Sanofi-Aventis of France.

Dick Ziggers

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