US, UK approve Roche's $4.3 bn purchase of gene therapy group Spark
Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche said it had received the necessary approval from competition authorities to acquire US gene-therapy group Spark, after the two companies reached a multibillion-dollar deal earlier this year.
Founded in 2013, Spark Therapeutics specialises in a new and growing segment of medicine for genetic diseases such as blindness, haemophilia, and neurodegenerative conditions.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) "unconditionally cleared Roche's pending acquisition of Spark", the Swiss company said in a statement on Monday.
"All antitrust approvals required to complete the offer have now been received," it said, after confirming earlier Monday that Britain's Competition and Markets Authority had also cleared the pending acquisition.
Roche and Spark sealed the deal worth $4.3 billion (3.7 billion euros) in February.
In a separate statement, the FTC said it had made its decision "following an exhaustive, 10-month investigation" into potential competitive harm that could result from the move.
Spark's biggest treatment under study is a therapy for haemophilia, a disorder where blood does not clot properly to stop bleeding.
"A key question in the investigation was whether Roche would have the incentive to delay or discontinue Spark's developmental gene therapy for hemophilia A," the FTC said.
"The evidence... did not indicate that Roche would have the incentive to delay or terminate" Spark's therapy development, or affect Roche's haemophilia drug Hemlibra, it concluded.
Roche stocks rose 1.18 percent to 304.10 Swiss Francs Monday on the Swiss stock exchange.
© 2019 AFP