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Actelion shareholders back R&D spinoff, keep J&J deal on track

ZURICH, April 5 Shareholders in Swiss biotech group Actelion approved on Wednesday spinning off its drug discovery and early clinical pipeline into a new company, keeping Johnson & Johnson's $30 billion takeover on track to close in the second quarter.

"After a very successful two decades, resulting in an unprecedented share price increase of more than 2,000 percent since our IPO, the next chapter for Actelion awaits," Chairman Jean-Pierre Garnier said after the annual meeting.

"With the successful tender offer by Johnson & Johnson, regulatory approvals on track, and today's approval by the shareholders to spin out Idorsia, the transaction is moving ahead at full steam."

Johnson & Johnson last month declared its tender offer a success and reported it controlled 77.2 percent of Actelion's voting rights after the main offer period.

J&J intends to delist Actelion, while the new research and development company led by Actelion founder Jean-Paul Clozel will have a separate Swiss listing. {nL5N1FG2X4]

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Brenn Hughes Neghaiwi)

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