Roche enters into definitive merger agreement to acquire Spark Therapeutics

Roche and Spark Therapeutics, Inc. had announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement for Roche to fully acquire Spark Therapeutics.

Spark Therapeutics, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a fully integrated, commercial company committed to discovering, developing and delivering gene therapies for genetic diseases, including blindness, haemophilia, lysosomal storage disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.

Spark Therapeutics’ lead clinical asset is SPK-8011, a novel gene therapy for the treatment of haemophilia A, which is expected to start Phase 3 in 2019. Spark Therapeutics also has SPK-8016 in a phase 1/2 trial aimed at addressing the haemophilia A inhibitor population. Additionally, Spark Therapeutics was the first company to receive FDA approval for a gene therapy for a genetic disease in 2017. LUXTURNA® (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl), a one-time gene therapy product indicated for the treatment of patients with confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutation-associated retinal dystrophy is currently marketed in the US by Spark Therapeutics. The European Commission granted marketing authorisation for LUXTURNA in 2018.

Spark Therapeutics’ additional clinical assets include: SPK-9001, an investigational gene therapy for the potential treatment of haemophilia B in Phase 3 and SPK-7001 for choroideremia in Phase 1/2. The company is also developing SPK-3006 for Pompe disease and SPK-1001 for CLN2 disease (a form of Batten disease) which are expected to be ready for clinical development in 2019, as well as additional preclinical programmes for Huntington’s disease and Stargardt disease.

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. In particular, Spark Therapeutics’ haemophilia A programme could become a new therapeutic option for people living with this disease. We are also excited to continue the investments in Spark Therapeutics’ broad product portfolio and commitment to Philadelphia as a center of excellence.” Spark Therapeutics’ will continue its operations in Philadelphia as an independent company within the Roche Group.

“As the only biotechnology company that has successfully commercialised a gene therapy for a genetic disease in the US, we have built unmatched competencies in the discovery, development and delivery of genetic medicines. But the needs of patients and families living with genetic diseases are immediate and their needs vast,” said Jeffrey D. Marrazzo, CEO of Spark Therapeutics. “With its worldwide reach and extensive resources, Roche will help us accelerate the development of more gene therapies for more patients for more diseases and further expedite our vision of a world where no life is limited by genetic disease.”