The move will see it own a major share of Elan’s stable of experimental drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease. It includes Bapineuzumab, a drug that could reap annual sales of up to $6bn (£3.7bn) by the end of next decade, according to analysts.
The deal will also allow Elan to cut its debt by 70% to an estimated $400m (£244m).
Johnson & Johnson owns brands including Johnson’s, Neutrogena, Band Aid, Listernine, Carefree and Tylenol.
Last year the healthcare company dropped out of its global sponsorship deal with the International Olympic Committee, worth up to £67m over four years.
Meanwhile, in the UK Johnson & Johnson launched its first pan-European branded-content campaign for its skincare Clean & Clear brand in March.
Created by Aegis Media Global’s J+Media Care team, it launched a video soap supported by a consumer competition.
It centred around two teenage best friends who starred in a series of ten, three-minute video diary webisodes.