Issue Date: June 1, 2009
J&J Disputes Terms Of Arthritis Pact
Johnson & Johnson is throwing a wrench in Merck & Co.'s planned acquisition of Schering-Plough by vying for control of the arthritis drug Remicade, which it comarkets with Schering-Plough. Under the marketing pact, J&J has the right to take full control of both Remicade and golimumab, a next-generation arthritis therapy, if Schering-Plough is sold. To work around this stipulation, Merck and Schering-Plough structured their deal as a reverse merger in which Schering-Plough will be the surviving company but be renamed Merck. J&J isn't buying that argument, and it has initiated arbitration to settle the dispute. The process will take nine to 12 months, meaning the matter won't be resolved until after the merger is completed. Leerink Swann stock analyst Seamus Fernandez believes Merck will likely win the case because of a poorly written contract between J&J and Schering-Plough. Remicade brought in about $2 billion in sales last year.
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