Swiss drugmaker Roche agreed to buy Philadelphia-based Spark Therapeutics for $4.8 billion.
Spark works to create gene therapies for genetic diseases, including blindness, haemophilia, lysosomal storage disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Spark’s gene therapy is for a rare form of blindness and is the first of such treatments, called Luxturna, to be approved by US regulators and is one of the priciest surgeries on the market at $425,000 per eye.
“Spark Therapeutics’ proven expertise in the entire gene therapy value chain may offer important new opportunities for the treatment of serious diseases,” Roche CEO Severin Schwan said in a news release. “Spark Therapeutics’ haemophilia A programme could become a new therapeutic option for people living with this disease.”