Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is planning to divest Celgene’s psoriasis drug Otezla (apremilast), in a bid to expedite the process of merger with Celgene.
Otezla is a prescription medicine secured approval to treat patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis for whom phototherapy or systemic therapy is appropriate.
The drug is also approved for the treatment of adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis.
In January this year, BMS greed to acquire US biotechnology company Celgene in a cash-cum-stock deal worth around $74bn (£66.1m).
The merger of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene is expected to result in a specialty biopharma company that will strive to develop high-value innovative medicines to meet the needs of patients with cancer, inflammatory and immunologic disease and cardiovascular disease.
BMS said that the company is actively involved in discussions with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on its continued review of the proposed transaction.
The company intends to sell Otezla to allow the transaction to close on a timely basis in light of concerns expressed by the FTC.
The divestiture is subject to further assessment by the FTC and needs that BMS enter into a consent decree with the FTC.
BMS intends to complete the Celgene transaction at the earliest possible date upon the FTC accepts the consent order and the other customary closing conditions are satisfied. The deal is expected to be completed at the end of this year or the starting of 2020.
BMS is planning to use the proceeds from Otezla deal to accelerate its post-closing deleveraging plans.
In a statement, BMS said: “Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to working with regulatory authorities around the world on the proposed combination with Celgene. The company is focused on realizing the promise of the transaction, and is continuing to work to complete the transaction on a timely basis.
“Bristol-Myers Squibb reaffirms the significant value creation opportunity of the acquisition of Celgene. Together with $2.5 billion of cost synergies, a compelling pipeline and a strong portfolio of marketed products, the company continues to expect growth in sales and earnings through 2025.”