Roche broadens its BD scope

James Sabry on what Spark deal says about Roche’s future BD strategy

Roche’s proposed acquisition of Spark Therapeutics Inc. is the pharma’s first major deal since James Sabry took over partnering, and could be a glimpse of what’s to come as the pharma broadens its horizons on indications and modalities.

On Feb. 25, Roche announced it would acquire Spark for $4.8 billion in cash.

The deal value is the pharma’s largest since Sabry took the role of global head of partnering on Aug. 1, 2018.

The takeout price is also a 24% premium to Spark’s all-time share price high of $92.39 on July 9, 2018.

The deal caps a successful run for Spark, which was founded in 2013 and became the first company to gain FDA approval for an in vivo gene therapy with its Luxturna voretigene neparvovec for a rare retinal disorder. The biotech also was the first to introduce a tiered pay-for-performance structure in its payment model for the one-time treatment.

Roche also gains three clinical and at least four preclinical gene therapy programs.

Gene therapy is a new modality for the pharma, and Spark’s expertise and manufacturing capabilities

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