BRUSSELS EU antitrust regulators approved on Friday Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ.N) planned purchase of Actelion Pharmaceutical (ATLN.S) subject to conditions intended to ensure clinical development of insomnia drugs were unaffected.
The European Commission, which rules on issues of competition for the 28-member bloc, said that both companies were developing treatment for insomnia based on a novel mechanism and there would be insufficient competition in this area if one of the two research programmes were discontinued.
Actelion's insomnia programme was to be transferred to a newly created company called Idorsia, in which Johnson & Johnson would hold a 32 percent stake. The Commission said this holding would allow it to exercise influence on decisions.
The Commission said Johnson & Johnson would have to limit its shareholding in Idorsia to below 10 percent - or up to 16 percent provided J&J was not the largest shareholder - and commit not to nominate a board member.
It would also have to grant Minerva Neurosciences, a partner for its own insomnia research programme, new rights over global development and waive its royalty rights on Minerva's sales in Europe.
"In view of the specific features of this case, these commitments addressed the Commission's competitive concerns concerning treatments in development for insomnia," the Commission said.
(Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek)