PHILADELPHIA, May 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spark Therapeutics, a late-stage company developing gene-based medicines for a wide range of debilitating diseases, announced today that it has signed a real estate agreement to open its permanent headquarters in West Philadelphia. Spark, which was spun out of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in October 2013 along with a $50 million capital commitment, plans to solidify its roots in Philadelphia proper with the build-out of a 28,000 square foot facility at 3737 Market Street to house business operations, clinical research and development, and manufacturing.
"We are thrilled to announce our plans to stay rooted in West Philadelphia as we continue to build off the success and momentum first established by our scientific founders while at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia," said Jeffrey D. Marrazzo, co-founder, president and CEO of Spark. "This new facility will support the continued expansion of our team and expand our manufacturing capacity to support our clinical development and commercial plans."
He added: "Philadelphia proper offers everything a rising biotech like Spark could need or want, including access to world-class medical centers and nationally-ranked universities, proximity to biopharma hubs in New York and New Jersey, and a lower cost of living than competing ecosystems in San Francisco and Boston."
With the new headquarters, Spark will expand its access to manufacturing capacity and rapidly accelerate its work to produce transformative treatments for patients affected by debilitating genetic diseases. Spark anticipates moving into its new headquarters later this year with plans to expand to 50 full-time employees by the end of 2014.
Recently named one of the most innovative startups by Nature Biotechnology and a newsworthy biotech startup by Xconomy, Spark is preparing to complete clinical development of its lead, Phase 3 clinical program to address inherited retinal dystrophies caused by mutations in the RPE65 gene, which has the potential to be the first approved gene therapy in the U.S. The company is also advancing a Phase 1/2 program in hemophilia B and preclinical programs to address neurodegenerative diseases and other inherited retinal dystrophies and hematologic disorders.
Spark joins hundreds of startups looking to transform the life sciences industry while leveraging all of the economic resources and talent available in the City of Brotherly Love, which was ranked number five on Area Development magazine's 2013 list of the Top 10 cities for Life Sciences [Source: Area Development Magazine]. The company is taking advantage of an economic assistance package through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to support the development of its new space and expand its team. The incentives were coordinated by the Governor's Action Team.
For more information on Spark Therapeutics, its clinical pipeline of gene therapy products, and nationally recognized executive team and board, please visit www.sparktx.com.
About Spark Therapeutics
Spark Therapeutics is developing potentially curative, one-time gene therapy products to transform the lives of patients and re-imagine the treatment of debilitating diseases. Spark's lead gene therapy candidate, for RPE65-related blindness, is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials with the potential to be the first approved gene therapy in the U.S., and the first treatment to address the significant unmet needs of patients living with blindness due to inherited retinal dystrophies.
Spark's founding team includes scientists who led the movement to develop gene therapy as a new treatment paradigm, establishing clinical proof of concept in the eye and liver and contributing key insights to the field that have resulted in a resurgence of industry interest in gene-based medicines. In addition to the Phase 3 program in RPE65-related blindness, the company has a Phase 1/2 program in hemophilia B and preclinical programs to address neurodegenerative diseases and other inherited retinal dystrophies and hematologic disorders. Spark has rights to a proprietary manufacturing platform that has an unparalleled track record of success in supporting clinical studies across diverse therapeutic areas and routes of administration. The company's expertise across research, clinical, regulatory and manufacturing builds on a legacy of innovation and excellence in gene therapy established by Spark's team while at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics. To learn more visit www.sparktx.com.
SOURCE Spark Therapeutics