Roche has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of US-based gene therapy company Spark Therapeutics for $114.50 per share, corresponding to a total of around $4.8bn on a fully diluted basis.
Spark Therapeutics noted that the total equity value includes approximately $500m of projected net cash that is expected to be paid at closing of the transaction.
The company is primarily engaged in the discovery, development and delivery of gene therapies for genetic disorders, including blindness, haemophilia, lysosomal storage disorders and neurodegenerative conditions.
Its lead programme SPK-8011 is being developed as potential treatment for haemophilia A. Spark Therapeutics is also developing SPK-8016 for haemophilia A inhibitor population and SPK-9001 to treat haemophilia B.
The company’s pipeline additionally includes SPK-7001 for treating choroideremia, SPK-3006 for Pompe disease and SPK-1001 for CLN2 disease. Spark Therapeutics is also working on preclinical programmes for Huntington’s and Stargardt diseases.
Furthermore, the company’s one-time gene therapy product Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl) received both the US and European regulatory approvals in patients with confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutation-associated retinal dystrophy.
Roche believes that Spark Therapeutics’ expertise in the gene therapy value chain could offer new opportunities for the treatment of serious diseases.
Roche CEO Severin Schwan added: “In particular, Spark Therapeutics’ haemophilia A programme 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 centre of excellence.”
Meanwhile, Spark expects Roche’s global presence and resources to aid in its efforts to develop more gene therapies.
Spark Therapeutics CEO Jeffrey Marrazzo said: “With its worldwide reach and extensive resources, Roche will help us accelerate the development of more gene therapies for more patients for more diseases and further expedite our vision of a world where no life is limited by genetic disease.”
The deal has been approved by the boards of both Spark and Roche. However, it remains subject to customary closing conditions with the acquisition expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year.
After closing of the deal, Spark will continue to operate in Philadelphia as an independent entity within the Roche Group.