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UK: CMA clears Roche’s US$4.3B takeover of Spark, US review lags

 |  December 16, 2019

Swiss drugmaker Roche won clearance from Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Monday for its planned US$4.3 billion takeover of gene therapy company Spark Therapeutics, while a similar US review continues

Roche wants to buy US-based Spark to gain a foothold in gene therapy as well as add to its portfolio against hemophilia A, where the Basel-based company already has the treatment Hemlibra that is due to surpass US$1 billion sales this year. 

Competition authorities have been scrutinizing the deal to ensure a Roche gene therapy-Hemlibra combination in the lucrative rare disease market would not give it an unfair advantage over rivals.

Britain’s competition agency came to the conclusion it would not, even as the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has yet to formally weigh in. The CMA said it had “cooperated closely” with the FTC. 

“The CMA found that Spark is not the only supplier developing a gene therapy treatment and that its products are not currently considered to hold any particular clinical or commercial advantages over those being developed by other suppliers,” the CMA stated. 

“The CMA therefore found that the deal between Roche and Spark would not negatively affect competition,” the CMA stated in a statement issued by the London Stock Exchange