Johnson & Johnson pay $2.41 billion for Crucell NV

Officials with Johnson & Johnson announced this week that they will buy the Holland-based Crucell NV for approximately $2.41 billion.

The move will give the American healthcare business a strong foothold in the vaccine business, the Associated press reports.

The two companies entered advanced talks in September. In the third quarter of 2009, Johnson & Johnson bought a 17.9 percent stake in the company, stating that the move would help them boost their focus on infectious diseases and preventative medicine.

Johnson & Johnson officials told the Associated Press that they intend to recommend a public offer under Dutch law for all the outstanding shares of Johnson & Johnson.

Crucell also develops medicines that use antibodies to combat organisms that cause infectious diseases. The company’s vaccines currently focus on a number of illnesses, including respiratory infections and common infections in developing countries, including malaria, cholera and typhoid.

Last year, Johnson & Johnson invested nearly $1.4 billion in Irish biotech company Elan Corp., to jointly develop a vaccine to prevent Alzheimer's disease. Those efforts are ongoing. Shortly after that deal, Paul Stoffels, global head of pharmaceutical research and development at Johnson & Johnson, told The Associated Press that his company planned to become a force in the vaccine business.

“This potential combination would provide us with a new platform for growth and advances our goal to deliver integrated health care solutions, with particular emphasis on prevention,” Stoffels told the Associated Press following the recent Crucell deal.

Company officials told the Associated Press that the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.