FTC approves Celgene acquisition of Juno without requiring divestitures

On Tuesday February 20, 2018, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved the Celgene acquisition of Juno, without requiring divestitures. The European Commission did not review the merger.

KEI’s February 16, 2018 letter opposing the acquisition is available here.

The following is a statement on the merger.

“By allowing Celgene to acquire Juno, without divestitures, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is allowing one company to control two important and potentially competing candidates for CAR T B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) targeted CAR T treatments for multiple myeloma. It’s much easier to prevent an anti-competitive acquisition than it will be to address the monopolist abuses that follow. Both technologies that will be controlled by Celgene have benefited enormously from NIH funding. The merger significantly reduces the odds there will be robust price competition for CAR T multiple myeloma treatments. Both the FTC and the European Commission have outdated and ineffective tools and norms to predict the anti-competitive impact of mergers involving pipeline technologies. In this case, both the Bluebird and the Juno BCMA-targeted CAR T candidates were in Phase 1/2 testing, in an area where the FDA has approved treatments with very small trials, and early reporting of data. We will ask the U.S. FTC and the European Commission to re-evaluate its norms on the acquisition of pipeline products, and also to undertake a study of the extensive patent thickets emerging for CAR T treatments.” James Love, Director, Knowledge Ecology International.