Former Spark exec to head gene therapy startup

July 15, 2022

Apertura Gene Therapy, a biotech startup focused on genetic medicines to treat debilitating diseases, has tapped Joseph La Barge to serve as chief executive officer.

Formerly the chief business officer of Spark Therapeutics, La Barge was one of the earliest employees and led the growth of the company through its acquisition by Roche for $4.8 billion in December 2019.

La Barge succeeds Dave Greenwald, who served as acting CEO from the founding of Apertura.

NYC-based Apertura launched in April with a Series A financing of up to $67 million from Deerfield Management Company to develop genetic medicines using platform technologies that address key limitations of genetic medicine delivery and expression. The technologies were developed by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and researchers from Harvard Medical School and are designed to engineer novel capsids, gene regulatory elements and payloads.

“Over the course of my career I have seen firsthand the profound impact gene therapies can have for patients and their caregivers. Apertura combines two powerful platform technologies from the Broad Institute and Harvard Medical School, and with the support of Deerfield, holds enormous promise to develop new AAV gene therapies that have the potential to alleviate a broad range of genetic diseases,” said La Barge.