Roche suffers third delay on Spark deal

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Hakinmhan)
(Image: Getty/Hakinmhan)

Related tags Roche Spark Therapeutics FTC

Roche’s acquisition of Spark was announced at the start of the year but closing the deal has proved difficult after a third delay incurred to give the FTC extra review time.

The deal was initially announced in February of this year​, which would see Roche pay $4.8bn (€3.79bn) for the gene therapy specialist, Spark Therapeutics.

At the time, Roche stated that it would expect the deal to close in the first half of this year, but this deadline is now creeping closer after a third delay.

Roche provided an update in which the company noted that it would refile premerger notification and report forms on ‘or about’ May 23 and extended the tender period until June 14.

Explaining its decision, the company stated the delay will “provide the government with additional time to complete its current review.”

This is the third such occasion where Roche has had to push back its takeover of Spark, which raises questions about the future of the deal with a shareholder lawsuit​ ongoing in the background regarding the acquisition.

Spark won the first approval for a gene therapy​ for an inherited form of vision loss in 2017, but a major part of the appeal for Roche in making the acquisition are Spark’s pipeline of haemophilia treatments.

The company has three such candidates in clinical trials, which would complement Roche’s portfolio of treatments that includes Hemlibra (emicizumab) – the haemophilia A treatment generated sales of CHF 224m (€197m) in full-year 2018 sales, despite being approved mid-way through the year.

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