The European Commission has approved AbbVie’s $63 billion acquisition of Allergan on condition that the companies sell off Allergan’s investigational treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The deal is still subject to the FTC’s approval, but securing the EU’s blessing for the merger is a significant milestone.
EU regulators found that the drugmakers’ biologics for treating ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, the two most common forms of IBD, overlap. AbbVie is developing Skyrizi (risankizumab-rzaa) — currently approved for treatment of psoriasis — for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, while Allergan is developing brazikumab for the same indications.
The commission found that risankizumab and brazikumab were likely to compete with each other since they are both IL-23 inhibitors and the merger would lead to “a loss of innovation for IBD treatments” because Allergan would stop developing brazikumab.