Actelion’s R&D will spin out as a new company, while Janssen will take on in-market and late-stage medicines

Healthcare conglomerate Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has agreed to buy Swiss firm Actelion for $30 billion (£24 billion) in cash.

J&J’s pharmaceutical arm, Janssen, will take control of Actelion’s portfolio of marketed medicines and late-stage development pipeline. That includes a family of blood pressure drugs, as well as an antibiotic and a multiple sclerosis treatment that are in Phase III trials.

However, the early-stage R&D projects will be spun out in a new company, with CHF1 billion (£808 million) of starting funds and led by Actelion’s existing chairman and chief executive. J&J will hold a 16% share of the new firm, with the rest divided between Actelion’s existing shareholders.