Horizon Pharma acquires Crealta for $510M; gains arthritis drug

In the acquisition, Horizon gains rights to Krystexxa, a drug that treats an orphan disease called chronic refractory gout that affects some 50,000 people in the U.S.

Ireland-based Horizon Pharma, fresh from withdrawing its $1 billion hostile takeover of specialty drug company Depomed, just made another big dollar maneuver: It has acquired Crealta Holdings, a Wisconsin pharma company that owns the only FDA-approved therapy for an uncommon form of arthritis.

Horizon just paid $510 million in cash to acquire Crealta to get its hands on Krystexxa, a drug that treats chronic refractory gout. The disease effects about 50,000 people in the U.S., and since Krystexxa’s approval in 2010 it has been used in between 4,000 and 5,000 people, the Wall Street Journal says.

Horizon Pharma last month withdrew a hostile $1 billion bid for Depomed – an effort that had occupied the Irish pharmaceutical company for some six months. The WSJ points out:

Horizon’s six-month pursuit was withdrawn after a California court said the bid was based on the improper use of confidential information.

Horizon and other drug companies like Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. have come under scrutiny recently over their business models. Instead of investing heavily in their own research-and-development efforts, the companies have sought sales growth through debt-fueled acquisitions–often of older drugs for which they raise prices sharply.

Crealta was formed in 2013, launched by private equity firm GTCR. Besides Krystexxa, the company also owns a migraine drug called Migergot.

[Photo: Big Stock Photo]