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The $4.3-billion acquisition is expected to strengthen Roche’s gene therapy pipeline.
On Feb. 25, 2019, Roche and Spark Therapeutics, a Philadelphia, PA-based company focused on gene therapies, announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement for Roche to fully acquire Spark Therapeutics for $4.3 billion ($114.50 per share) in an all-cash transaction.
Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will commence a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Spark Therapeutics common stock, and Spark Therapeutics will file a recommendation statement containing the unanimous recommendation of its board to tender shares to Roche. Following completion of the tender offer, Roche will acquire all remaining shares at the same price of $114.50 per share through a second-step merger. The closing of the transaction is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2019. Spark Therapeutics will continue its operations in Philadelphia as an independent company within the Roche Group.
Spark Therapeutics is a commercial company specializing in discovering, developing, and delivering gene therapies for genetic diseases, including blindness, hemophilia, lysosomal storage disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. It was the first company to receive FDA approval for a gene therapy, Luxtunra (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl), for a genetic disease in December 2017. Luxturna is a one-time gene-therapy product indicated for the treatment of patients with confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutation-associated retinal dystrophy. It is currently marketed in the United States by Spark Therapeutics. The European Commission granted marketing authorization for Luxturna in November 2018.
The company’s current lead clinical asset, SPK-8011, a gene therapy for the treatment of hemophilia A, is expected to start Phase III in 2019, according to Roche. Spark Therapeutics also has SPK-8016 in a phase I/II trial aimed at targeting the hemophilia A inhibitor population.
“Spark Therapeutics’ proven expertise in the entire gene therapy value chain may offer important new opportunities for the treatment of serious diseases,” said Severin Schwan, CEO of Roche, in a company press release. “In particular, Spark Therapeutics’ hemophilia-A program 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.”