FTC staff signs off on Roche $4.3B deal for Spark — report
Roche is one step closer to regulatory endorsement — in the form of an FTC staff recommendation — to buy Spark Therapeutics without any asset sales, according to a report by the Capitol Forum on Thursday.
Concerns that the Swiss drugmaker may be forced to abandon a hemophilia gene therapy being developed by Spark in order to consummate the $4.3 billion acquisition, erupted after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a second request for information in June. A second request is rare and typically augurs a divestiture demand, according to an analysis by Mizuho Securities analyst Difei Yang last month.
“The FTC has not filed a complaint in this matter, and the agency doesn’t sign off on deals. It either files a complaint or it doesn’t,” an FTC spokesperson told Endpoints News on Friday.
If the report from Washington DC-based outlet Capital Forum is accurate, the FTC chairman and four commissioners must also back the deal before it can be completed.
Roche $ONCE – Think this delay has been an overhang for the whole gene Tx field. Glad to see it apparently resolved.
— Brad Loncar (@bradloncar) October 24, 2019
Earlier this week, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority indicated that it has scheduled a deadline of December 16 for its Phase I decision. If the review goes into Phase II, a more comprehensive probe will kick off.
In its third-quarter results update last week, Roche $RHBBY chief Severin Schwan reiterated he was confident the deal — which was unveiled in February and has seen delay after delay — would be completed by year-end.
Roche’s prophylactic treatment for patients with hemophilia A, Hemlibra, has been generating healthy sales. Spark Therapeutics $ONCE — the maker of the first gene therapy in the United States, a product for an inherited form of blindness — has two gene therapies in development for hemophilia A, including the late-stage drug SPK-8011, as well as a phase I/II program for SPK-8016.
Roche and Spark declined to comment.