MoreThe logo of healthcare company Johnson & Johnson is seen in front of an office building in Zug, Switzerland July 20, 2016.

By Paul Arnold and Ludwig Burger

ZURICH/FRANKFURT Reuters - U.S. healthcare company Johnson & Johnson said on Friday it was in preliminary talks with Actelion about a potential takeover of Europe's largest biotech firm, currently valued at about $20 billion 16.03 billion pounds .

Lung disease specialist Actelion confirmed it had been approached and said there was no certainty a deal would occur.

An acquisition of the Swiss company would boosts J's drug pipeline and diversify its prospects.

J's biggest product, the arthritis drug Remicade, faces cheaper competition from Pfizer Inc .

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