FTC, Amgen fail to reach settlement over blocked Horizon deal

July 20, 2023

Settlement talks aimed at resolving the Federal Trade Commission's legal challenge to Amgen's $27.8 billion takeover of Horizon Therapeutics have ceased, according to a Bloomberg report.

During a hearing in the FTC’s in-house court, an agency lawyer said the FTC is still “open to hearing proposals,” according to Bloomberg.

Back in May, the FTC filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the proposed $27.8 billion transaction, saying the deal would allow Amgen to use rebates on its existing blockbuster drugs to pressure insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers into favoring Horizon’s two key drugs — Tepezza and Krystexxa — neither of which have market competition.

A hint at what was coming came in February, when Horizon and Amgen revealed that they had received a request from the FTC for additional information and documentary materials concerning the proposed acquisition. 

The acquisition, announced in December 2022, will give Amgen access to Horizon’s lead thyroid eye disease drug, Tepezza, and Krystexxa, used to treat chronic refractory gout.

Amgen has fired back in response to FTC actions, claiming the agency is blocking the deal "based on a novel and highly speculative 'cross-benefit' and 'cross-market' bundling theory that has no legal or factual support." In June, Amgen and Horizon filed counterclaims against the FTC, saying the agency's actions are unconstitutional.

With the parties unable to reach a settlement, they will head to a two-week hearing in September in Illinois federal court on the FTC’s request to pause the transaction ahead of the in-house trial on the deal, currently scheduled for October 25.