Roche acquires Spark Therapeutics

Basel-based pharmaceutical Group Roche has agreed a takeover with US gene therapy company Spark Therapeutics. The total transaction value is US$ 4.3 billion.

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Image credit: Spark Therapeutics

According to a press release, Roche and Spark Therapeutics, Inc. have entered into a definitive merger agreement. Roche will pay US$ 114.50 per share, which corresponds to a total transaction value of approximately US$ 4.3 billion. The merger agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of Spark Therapeutics and Roche. Roche will now attempt to also acquire all outstanding shares of Spark Therapeutics common stock.

Spark Therapeutics, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, specializes in gene therapies for genetic diseases, including blindness, haemophilia, lysosomal storage disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. The furthest advanced gene therapy within Spark Therapeutics’ development program is for the treatment of haemophilia A, which is expected to start Phase 3 in 2019. Additionally, Spark Therapeutics was the first company to receive FDA approval for a gene therapy for a genetic disease. LUXTURNA (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl) is indicated for the treatment of patients with confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutation-associated retinal dystrophy and has been authorized for use in the EU since 2018.

Commenting on the transaction, Severin Schwan, CEO of Roche, said, “Spark Therapeutics’ proven expertise in the entire gene therapy value chain may offer important new opportunities for the treatment of serious diseases. Jeffrey D. Marrazzo, CEO of Spark Therapeutics, assumes that with Roche’s worldwide reach and extensive resources it will be possible to offer “more gene therapies for more patients for more diseases.”

The closing of the transaction is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2019. Afterwards Spark Therapeutics will remain at its headquarters in Philadelphia.

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