The U.S. Federal Trade Commission's decision that the merger of Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy into Novartis could reduce competition in gene therapy will have a wide-ranging impact on the gene therapy landscape. Most immediately affected are Genetic Therapy Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sandoz, and Chiron Corp., which is 49.9 percent owned by Ciba.

Although no gene therapies are even close to market, the FTC asked Novartis to provide access to the following discoveries: the HSV-tk (herpes simplex virus-thymidine kinase) technology; a broad ex-vivo gene therapy patent; Factor VIII for hemophilia gene therapy; and cytokines for use in cell expansion for ex-vivo gene therapy.