February 27, 2019

Roche invests in gene therapy

Spark Therapeutics, the company at the forefront of developing gene therapy for haemophilia, has been acquired by Roche in a merger worth $4.8 billion. The deal, which is expected to be closed by the middle of the year, brings benefits to both sides. Spark gains the global resources required to fully exploit its discoveries. Roche gains a foothold in the emerging but financially risky gene therapy market with the first company to develop a gene therapy (voretigene neparvovec, Luxturna, for inherited retinal dystrophy) that has been marketed (by Novartis). The move also signals a further commitment by Roche to developing treatments for haemophilia following its success with emicizumab (Hemlibra).