Roche agrees to buy Philadelphia biotech Spark Therapeutics for $4.3 billion, enriching CHOP, founders

This article was first published on

Spark Therapeutics Inc., founded by researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, has agreed to be sold to Switzerland-based Roche Holding AG for $4.3 billion, the University City-based gene-therapy developer said Monday.

The CHOP Foundation will collect about $430 million of that total for its Spark shares — a huge return for the hospital’s $33 million investment since 2013. Venture capitalists and investment funds that backed the company early will also profit.

“It shows gene therapy is here to stay. And it’s great for the Philadelphia area," said Kapila Ratnam, partner at the Radnor-based investment firm NewSpring Capital. "It brings attention and hopefully more dollars, for the many, many therapies in the pipeline,” some for diseases that affect only a few thousand people.