Roche to acquire Spark Therapeutics for $114.50 per share representing a total equity value of $4.8 billion

Spark Therapeutics will continue its operations in Philadelphia as an independent company within the Roche Group

Transaction expected to close in Q2, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Spark Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ONCE), a fully integrated, commercial gene therapy company dedicated to challenging the inevitability of genetic disease, announced today that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement for Roche to fully acquire Spark Therapeutics at a price of $114.50 per share in an all-cash transaction. This corresponds to a total equity value of approximately $4.8 billion on a fully diluted basis, inclusive of approximately $500 million of projected net cash expected at close. The per share price represents a premium of 122 percent to Spark’s closing price on Feb. 22, 2019. The merger agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of both Spark and Roche.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Roche will promptly commence a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Spark’s common stock, and Spark will file a recommendation statement containing the unanimous recommendation of the Spark board that Spark shareholders tender their shares to Roche.

“As the only biotechnology company that has successfully commercialized a gene therapy for a genetic disease in the U.S., we have built unmatched competencies in the discovery, development and delivery of genetic medicines. But the needs of patients and families living with genetic diseases are immediate and vast,” said Jeffrey D. Marrazzo, chief executive officer of Spark Therapeutics. “With its worldwide reach and extensive resources, Roche will help us accelerate the development of more gene therapies for more patients for more diseases and further expedite our vision of a world where no life is limited by genetic disease.”

“Spark Therapeutics’ proven expertise in the entire gene therapy value chain may offer important new opportunities for the treatment of serious diseases,” said Severin Schwan, chief executive officer of Roche. “In particular, Spark’s hemophilia A program could become a new therapeutic option for people living with this disease. We are also excited to continue the investments in Spark’s broad product portfolio and commitment to Philadelphia as a center of excellence.”

Spark Therapeutics will continue its operations in Philadelphia as an independent company within the Roche Group.

Terms of the Agreement
Under the terms of the merger agreement, Roche will promptly commence a tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Spark Therapeutics’ common stock at a price of $114.50 per share in cash. The closing of the tender offer will be subject to a majority of Spark Therapeutics’ outstanding shares being tendered. In addition, the transaction is subject to the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 and other customary conditions.

Following completion of the tender offer, Roche will acquire all remaining shares at the same price of $114.50 per share through a second step merger. The closing of the transaction is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2019.

Centerview Partners is acting as financial advisor to Spark Therapeutics and Goodwin Procter LLP is acting as legal counsel to Spark Therapeutics. Cowen also acted as a financial advisor in this transaction to Spark Therapeutics. Citi is acting as financial advisor to Roche and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is acting as legal counsel to Roche. 

About Spark Therapeutics
At Spark Therapeutics, a fully integrated, commercial company committed to discovering, developing and delivering gene therapies, we challenge the inevitability of genetic diseases, including blindness, hemophilia, lysosomal storage disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. We have successfully applied our technology in the first gene therapy approved in both the U.S. and EU for a genetic disease, and currently have four programs in clinical trials, including product candidates that have shown promising early results in patients with hemophilia. At Spark, we see the path to a world where no life is limited by genetic disease. For more information, visit www.sparktx.com, and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Roche
Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalised healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible.

Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.

Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. The company also aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. Thirty medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Moreover, for the tenth consecutive year, Roche has been recognised as the most sustainable company in the Pharmaceuticals Industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).

The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2018 employed about 94,000 people worldwide. In 2018, Roche invested CHF 11 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 56.8 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit www.roche.com.

All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are protected by law.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND WHERE TO FIND IT
THE TENDER OFFER FOR THE OUTSTANDING COMMON STOCK OF SPARK THERAPEUTICS HAS NOT BEEN COMMENCED. THIS ANNOUNCEMENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFER TO PURCHASE OR A SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO SELL SPARK THERAPEUTICS COMMON STOCK. THE SOLICITATION AND OFFER TO BUY SPARK THERAPEUTICS COMMON STOCK WILL ONLY BE MADE PURSUANT TO AN OFFER TO PURCHASE AND RELATED MATERIALS. AT THE TIME THE OFFER IS COMMENCED, ROCHE AND ITS ACQUISITION SUBSIDIARY WILL FILE A TENDER OFFER STATEMENT ON SCHEDULE TO WITH THE SEC AND THEREAFTER, SPARK THERAPEUTICS WILL FILE A SOLICITATION/RECOMMENDATION STATEMENT ON SCHEDULE 14D-9 WITH RESPECT TO THE OFFER. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THESE MATERIALS (INCLUDING AN OFFER TO PURCHASE, A RELATED LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL AND CERTAIN OTHER TENDER OFFER DOCUMENTS) CAREFULLY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE SINCE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION, INCLUDING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE OFFER. THE OFFER TO PURCHASE, SOLICITATION/RECOMMENDATION STATEMENT AND RELATED MATERIALS WILL BE FILED WITH THE SEC, AND INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS MAY OBTAIN A FREE COPY OF THESE MATERIALS (WHEN AVAILABLE) AND OTHER DOCUMENTS FILED BY ROCHE AND SPARK THERAPEUTICS WITH THE SEC AT THE WEBSITE MAINTAINED BY THE SEC AT WWW.SEC.GOV. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS MAY ALSO OBTAIN FREE COPIES OF THE SOLICITATION/RECOMMENDATION STATEMENT AND OTHER DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC BY SPARK THERAPEUTICS AT www.sparktx.com.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
SOME OF THE STATEMENTS CONTAINED IN THIS ANNOUNCEMENT ARE FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS, INCLUDING STATEMENTS REGARDING, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THE EXPECTED CONSUMMATION OF THE TRANSACTION, WHICH INVOLVES A NUMBER OF RISKS AND UNCERTAINTIES, INCLUDING THE SATISFACTION OF CLOSING CONDITIONS FOR THE TRANSACTION, INCLUDING REGULATORY APPROVAL, THE TENDER OF A MAJORITY OF THE OUTSTANDING SHARES OF COMMON STOCK OF SPARK THERAPEUTICS, THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE TRANSACTION WILL NOT BE COMPLETED, AND OTHER RISKS AND UNCERTAINTIES DISCUSSED IN SPARK THERAPEUTICS’ PUBLIC FILINGS WITH THE UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (THE “SEC”), INCLUDING THE “RISK FACTORS” SECTIONS OF SPARK THERAPEUTICS’ ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2017 AND SUBSEQUENT QUARTERLY REPORTS ON FORM 10-Q, AS WELL AS THE TENDER OFFER DOCUMENTS TO BE FILED BY ROCHE AND ITS ACQUISITION SUBSIDIARY AND THE SOLICITATION/RECOMMENDATION TO BE FILED BY SPARK THERAPEUTICS. THESE STATEMENTS ARE BASED ON CURRENT EXPECTATIONS, ASSUMPTIONS, ESTIMATES AND PROJECTIONS, AND INVOLVE KNOWN AND UNKNOWN RISKS, UNCERTAINTIES AND OTHER FACTORS THAT MAY CAUSE RESULTS, LEVELS OF ACTIVITY, PERFORMANCE OR ACHIEVEMENTS TO BE MATERIALLY DIFFERENT FROM ANY FUTURE STATEMENTS. THESE STATEMENTS ARE GENERALLY IDENTIFIED BY WORDS OR PHRASES SUCH AS “BELIEVE”, “ANTICIPATE”, “EXPECT”, “INTEND”, “PLAN”, “WILL”, “MAY”, “SHOULD”, “ESTIMATE”, “PREDICT”, “POTENTIAL”, “CONTINUE” OR THE NEGATIVE OF SUCH TERMS OR OTHER SIMILAR EXPRESSIONS. IF UNDERLYING ASSUMPTIONS PROVE INACCURATE OR UNKNOWN RISKS OR UNCERTAINTIES MATERIALIZE, ACTUAL RESULTS AND THE TIMING OF EVENTS MAY DIFFER MATERIALLY FROM THE RESULTS AND/OR TIMING DISCUSSED IN THE FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS, AND YOU SHOULD NOT PLACE UNDUE RELIANCE ON THESE STATEMENTS. ROCHE AND SPARK THERAPEUTICS DISCLAIM ANY INTENT OR OBLIGATION TO UPDATE ANY FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS AS A RESULT OF DEVELOPMENTS OCCURRING AFTER THE PERIOD COVERED BY THIS REPORT OR OTHERWISE.

      
Investor Contact: 
Ryan Asay     
Ryan.asay@sparktx.com     
(215) 239-6424
 Media Contact:
Monique da Silva
Monique.dasilva@sparktx.com 
(215) 282-7470