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Pharmaceutical merger cleared by CMA

The CMA has cleared the anticipated purchase of gene therapy company Spark Therapeutics by pharmaceutical company Roche Holdings.

Both companies develop treatments that aim to prevent bleeding in patients with Haemophilia A, a genetic blood disorder. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been examining whether the deal could negatively affect the future treatment choices available to the NHS, doctors and patients.

Roche supplies a drug called Hemlibra, a relatively-recent market entrant that has already become recognised as an important and innovative medicine for patients in the UK. Spark is in the process of developing a gene therapy treatment for Haemophilia A that is expected to compete with Hemlibra in future.

The CMA’s initial Phase 1 investigation found that the supply of Haemophilia A treatments is a developing sector in which a number of suppliers are in the process of bringing new products to market.

While gene therapy treatments are likely to compete with Roche’s Hemlibra in future, 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’s investigation also found that there are several innovative non-gene therapy products under development that are likely to become viable alternatives to Roche and Spark’s treatments.

The CMA therefore found that the deal between Roche and Spark would not negatively affect competition because UK health services and patients will still have an adequate choice of alternatives.

The deal is also being investigated by the US Federal Trade Commission and the 2 authorities have cooperated closely.

More information can be found on the CMA’s Roche Holdings/Spark Therapeutics inquiry page.

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