By James Loh/HBO/Reuters US-listed Horizon Pharmaceuticals said on Wednesday it had reached an agreement to sell a blockbuster drug to its main rival, New Jersey-based Meridian Health.
In a statement, Horizon said it had agreed to pay $1.9bn (£1.4bn) for Horizon’s new super-smart drug, which has been dubbed the ‘smart pill’.
Horizon’s drug is currently available in Britain, France and Germany.
The deal includes a one-time cash payment of $1,100 per patient and Horizon said the deal would enable Horizon to invest in research, development and marketing to ensure it is the best-selling drug in the world.
In February, Horizon paid a record $10.6bn to buy its largest drug, Sovaldi, from Bristol-Myers Squibb for $1bn.
The deal was hailed by some as a major victory for the pharmaceutical industry.
Horizon has a reputation as a leading global drugmaker, but its stock fell in after-hours trading on Wednesday as it struggled to cope with its own $2.7bn price-tag.
Shares of the US-focused drugmaker fell more than 12% to $12.63 on Wednesday.
Shares in Meridian fell more 5.7% to 1,895.9 euros.
The drugs deal comes just weeks after the US Federal Trade Commission filed charges against Horizon and Meridian in a lawsuit filed against the two companies.
The charges accuse Horizon and its former chief executive officer, Mark Hulshof, of fraudulently misleading the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other government regulators about the effectiveness of its drug, called Horizon XR, for treating serious infections.
The FTC charges Horizon with lying to the agency about the drug’s effectiveness and its false advertising claims.
In October, the FTC also filed charges with the Justice Department against Horizon over the way it marketed the drug.
In an affidavit filed with the case, a former Horizon employee told the FTC that the drugmaker misled patients about the safety and effectiveness of the drug by including unsubstantiated claims about its efficacy in “serious cases of acute and chronic viral infection”.
A Horizon spokesperson said it was cooperating with the FTC and the Justice Dept’s probe into the company.
“As part of the deal announced today, Horizon will acquire Meridian for an undisclosed sum,” the spokesperson said.
“We are committed to building a world-class pharmaceutical company that is both innovative and effective.
We believe that the Meridian acquisition will strengthen Horizon’s ability to compete globally for high-quality drugs, which will drive growth in our health care business.”
Horizon is one of the most valuable pharmaceutical companies in the US.
It has more than 1,200 employees in the United States, including in Merida.
In the first nine months of the year, Horizon posted revenue of $3.2bn.
Meridian has a market capitalisation of $4.4 billion, and Horizon has an estimated value of $2bn, according to data from data firm CB Insights.