The Federal Trade Commission staff reviewing Roche’s plan to buy U.S.-based gene therapy specialist Spark Therapeutics for $4.3 billion recommended that the deal be approved without requiring any asset sales, the Capitol Forum reported on Thursday.
Basel-based Roche, the biggest maker of cancer drugs, said in February that it would buy the U.S. company, acquiring a portfolio that includes a blindness treatment that has U.S. and European approval and other projects for neurodegenerative disorders like Huntington’s disease. One of its projects is a gene therapy treatment for hemophilia.
The FTC staff had focused on hemophilia treatments since Roche markets Hemlibra, the report said.
Following the staff’s recommendation, officials at the top of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition must weigh in. The next step would be a vote by the FTC chairman and four commissioners.
The deal must also win approval from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which said this week that it had a deadline of mid-December for a Phase 1 decision. A Phase 2 probe would be more in-depth and detailed.
Roche, Spark and the FTC all declined comment.
By Diane Bartz
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent to MedTrace for their method of diagnosing the human heart via 15O-water PET. The patented method is the foundation of the company’s software aQuant, currently under development. Hendrik “Hans” Harms, PhD and Senior Scientist at MedTrace, and Jens Soerensen, Professor and Clinical Advisor to MedTrace, are the originators of the method.
Teresa Graham, currently head of global product strategy for Roche pharma, will become the division’s new CEO next month, Roche said Thursday. Simultaneously, Roche is elevating Levi Garraway, chief medical officer, to the executive committee.
Fierce Pharma has obtained internal documents and video of a town hall meeting conducted this week describing what J&J called a “comprehensive review” of its portfolio. Moving forward, J&J plans to operate its vaccines and infectious diseases outfits as one group, the executives explained.