Horizon Therapeutics Reaches $28B Deal to Be Bought by Amgen

New subsidiary will get Horizon's portfolio of therapies, including Uplizna

Lindsey Shapiro, PhD avatar

by Lindsey Shapiro, PhD |

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Pillartree Limited, a new subsidiary of Amgen, has struck a deal to acquire Horizon Therapeutics, which markets Uplizna (inebilizumab-cdon) for neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD).

Last month, Horizon announced that it was in preliminary discussions about a potential sale to three pharmaceutical companies — Amgen, Janssen, and Sanofi — with Amgen now emerging as the official purchaser.

The terms of the purchase, which will overall cost Amgen about $28.5 billion, have been agreed upon by the two companies. Under the agreement, Amgen will obtain Horizon’s portfolio of approved and experimental therapies, including Uplizna.

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Acquisition could be effective in first half of 2023

Should all legal requirements be met, the acquisition is expected to be in effective the first half of 2023.

“The acquisition of Horizon is a compelling opportunity for Amgen and one that is consistent with our strategy of delivering long-term growth by providing innovative medicines that address the needs of patients who suffer from serious diseases,” Robert A. Bradway, chairman and CEO of Amgen, said company press release,

Behind the acquisition is a “compelling strategic and financial rationale,” Amgen stated in the release, citing the benefits of adding Horizon’s portfolio of rare disease therapies to its own.

“Amgen’s decades of leadership … will enable us to reach many more patients with first-in-class medicines like Tepezza, Krystexxa and Uplizna,” Bradway added.

Uplizna is one of the three approved therapies for people with NMOSD who are positive for antibodies against the aquaporin-4 (AQP4) protein, the most common type of disease-driving antibodies.

Originally developed by Viela Bio, which was later bought by Horizon, Uplizna is designed to reduce the risk of NMOSD relapses by targeting immune B-cells and suppressing their production of antibodies.

The twice yearly into-the-vein treatment was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June 2020 for adults with AQP4-NMOSD, and by the European Commission for the same indication earlier this year.

In Japan and other regions of Asia, Uplizna is marketed in collaboration with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma.

Uplizna is currently in Phase 3 clinical development for other autoimmune indications, including IgG4-related disease and myasthenia gravis.

Horizon’s portfolio also includes experimental treatments for a range of diseases, including systemic sclerosis, Sjögren’s syndrome, and lupus.

“We have accomplished a tremendous amount for patients, their families and our customers and created significant value for shareholders,” said Tim Walbert, chairman, president, and CEO of Horizon. “These accomplishments are all rooted in our employees’ deep commitment, dedication and personal passion for those impacted by rare, autoimmune and severe inflammatory diseases.”

“Amgen is aligned with that commitment and passion and will continue to maximize the value of the current portfolio and pipeline and accelerate the ability to reach more patients globally,” he said.