J&J buys $1 billion stake in Elan, shares soar

on July 02 2009 8:24 AM

Johnson & Johnson is take over most of Elan Corp Alzheimer's research and invest $1 billion in new Elan equity in exchange for an 18.4 percent stake in the Irish drugmaker, the companies said on Thursday.

The deal marks the end of a strategic review by Elan and its adviser Citigroup, following pressure from investors for change at the group, which has been burning through cash at a rapid rate.

J&J will initially commit up to $500 million to develop and commercialize Elan's experimental Alzheimer's treatment bapineuzumab and will continue Elan's existing activities with Wyeth under their Alzheimer's immunotherapy program.

Wyeth is the process of being acquired by Pfizer .

J&J said the transaction would dilute its adjusted earnings in 2009 by between 2 and 3 cents a share. Shares in Elan leapt 30 percent in Dublin.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler)

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