Dublin gene therapy company bought in deal worth €15m

US biopharma group Spark Therapeutics buys Dublin-based Trinity spin-out Genable Technologies

Prof Jane Farrar from Trinity College Dublin: she and Prof Peter Humphries and  Dr Paul Kenna  have spent over 20 years looking at the form of inherited blindness known as retinitis pigmentosa. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Prof Jane Farrar from Trinity College Dublin: she and Prof Peter Humphries and Dr Paul Kenna have spent over 20 years looking at the form of inherited blindness known as retinitis pigmentosa. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

US biopharma group Spark Therapeutics has acquired Dublin-based gene therapy business Genable Technologies in a deal worth more than $15 million (€13.6m).

The Trinity spin-out has used gene therapy to address a particular form of inherited blindness. It has been working with Spark, which specialises in gene therapy, since 2014.

Spark has paid $6 million in cash and 265,000 shares in the US company. At Monday’s price of around $35, the Spark stock is worth $9.4 million. The company will continue to be based in Ireland following the deal.

Genable raised €5 million in 2011 in an exercise led by Irish group Fountain Healthcare Partners, along with VC group Delta Partners.

The team behind Genable – Prof Jane Farrar (pictured), Prof Peter Humphries and opthalmologist Dr Paul Kenna – have spent over 20 years looking at one form of inherited blindness – retinitis pigmentosa (RP) – in which a genetic mutation leads to damage of the retina and a gradual loss of sight. A treatment holds the potential to provide a first cure for as many as 30,000 patients in the US and Europe.

Genable chairwoman Annette Clancy said the deal would “ensure the expedient clinical development of [its drug] RhoNova”.