Johnson & Johnson to Own 18 % Stake in Crucell


   U.S. diversified health care company Johnson & Johnson has bought an 18 % stake in Crucell for 302 million EU ($444 million) as part of a flu vaccine development deal.

    Crucell is a biotechnology company specializing in vaccines and antibodies. Its headquarters are located in Leiden, The Netherlands.

    Vaccine-makers have been hot M&A targets recently, particularly for large drugmakers keen to secure new products as exclusivity on existing best selling products nears an end.

    Crucell had previously been in takeover talks with U.S. drugmaker Wyeth, but talks were broken off in January after Pfizer moved in to buy Wyeth.

    Johnson & Johnson and smaller rival Abbott are already the most diversified of the large U.S. and European healthcare companies, but both continue to snap up more companies and products -- often at distressed prices due to the economic downturn.

   Crucell said it issued 14.6 million new Crucell shares to Johnson & Johnson, which paid about a 30 % premium based on the average price of Crucell shares in the past 35 days. That led to a price per share of about 20.63 EU.

   The transaction will have an estimated dilutive impact of $0.02 to $0.04 on Johnson & Johnson's 2009 adjusted earnings per share.

   Crucell said the collaboration will focus on developing a universal "flu-mAb" product targeting all influenza A strains. That includes H1N1 strains which cause seasonal flu and the current pandemic flu, along with the H5N1, or avian, strain.

   Both companies also agreed to milestones and royalty payments based on the successful development and commercialization of products, but Crucell declined to provide further details, according to Reuters' report.