Roche pays $4.3 billion for Spark Therapeutics


  • Shares in Philadelphia biotech company more than double in value
  • Roche shares slightly lower
  • “Broad product portfolio” cited in buyout

On Monday, gene therapy expert Spark Therapeutics saw its shares more than double in pre-market trading after the company agreed on a $4.3 billion takeover by Switzerland’s Roche Holding.

Roche, the world’s biggest cancer treatment maker, said that it will pay $114.50 a share for gene therapy specialist Spark. This represents a 122% premium on the stock’s closing price from last Friday.

The biotech company, which is based in Philadelphia, and its portfolio of treatments for neurodegenerative diseases is subsequently valued at around $4.3 billion.

Spark CEO Jeffrey Marrazzo commented: “As the only biotechnology company that has successfully commercialized a gene therapy for a genetic disease in the U.S., we have built unmatched competencies in the discovery, development and delivery of genetic medicines. But the needs of patients and families living with genetic diseases are immediate and vast.”

“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,” Marrazzo added.

While Spark shares were 120.62% higher on Friday’s close, Roche shares slid lower in pre-market trading on Monday, down 0.4%.

Roche CEO Severin Schwan said: “Spark Therapeutics’ proven expertise in the entire gene therapy value chain may offer important new opportunities for the treatment of serious diseases. In particular, Spark Therapeutics’ haemophilia A programme could become a new therapeutic option for people living with this disease.”

Schwan went on to highlight Spark Therapeutics’ broad product portfolio, and Roche also specifically mentioned Spark’s late-stage gene therapy haemophilia A treatment, known as SPK-8011.

Brian Ducey

Brian graduated from Chaminade High School and the University Of Vermont Kalkin School Of Business with a concentration in Finance. He began his career with Knight Capital Markets, working his way to market maker. Brian later expanded his market repertoire, working with various sell-side research brokerage firms, such as Sidoti & Co., and William O’Neill & Co., as an Account Executive. With over 20 years-experience in the financial industry, Brian has built a unique perspective into “market intelligence” understanding an ability to read the tape and apply second level thinking in a fast paced environment. Brian also carried several market licenses, including the series 7, 24, 55, 65, and 63 licenses as well as previously passing The Connecticut Life and Health Insurance Exam