Roche finally cleared to take over Spark

Dec. 17, 2019

After months regulatory reviews and several delays, Roche’s $4.3 billion takeover of Spark Therapeutics has finally been given the go-ahead.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority were looking closely at whether or not the deal would hamper competition in the market for hemophilia A treatments. After close review, both regulatory bodies said the deal could go through without any required asset sales.

In addition to bolstering its hemophilia A portfolio, Roche’s takeover of Spark will make it a strong player in the gene therapy market. In 2017, Spark became the first company to have a gene therapy — Luxturna — approved in the U.S. that treats a genetic disease. The approval put Spark at the forefront of the industry’s efforts to more effectively commercialize gene therapies. 

But regulators were more interested in determining if Roche would kill Spark’s hemophilia program to benefit its own. Ultimately they decided that Roche would not sabotage Spark’s hemophilia efforts. And because there are many companies in the market for hemophilia A treatments, regulators determined that the deal would not undermine competition.

Read the Reuters report.