Ballard Spahr represented Spark Therapeutics in the acquisition of Dublin, Ireland-based Genable Technologies, a private gene therapy innovator. Spark and Genable have collaborated since 2014 in the development of Genable's therapeutic program, which targets one of the most prevalent forms of inherited retinal disease (IRD).
The consideration paid to Genable shareholders consisted of $6 million in cash and 265,000 shares of Spark common stock. The lead transaction attorneys at Ballard Spahr were partner Justin P. Klein and associates Amit Kakkar and Kaleena F. Laputka with support from partner Saba Ashraf and associates T. Conrad Bower and John R. Sharrar.
With the acquisition, Spark acquires RhoNova™, a potential treatment targeting rhodopsin-linked autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (RHO-adRP), an IRD that routinely leads to visual impairment and, in the most severe cases, to blindness. Using an adeno-associated virus vector developed and manufactured at Spark, RhoNova™ is designed to suppress the expression of a faulty gene and deliver normal copies of the RHO gene to restore normal expression.
RhoNova™ has been granted Orphan Drug Designation in both the U.S. and Europe in addition to the Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product designation from the European Medicines Agency. There is currently no approved pharmacologic treatment for RHO-adRP, which affects an estimated 12,000 patients in the United States and the five major European markets (EU5).