From The Editor | March 7, 2019

News Round-Up: Gottlieb Steps Down, Roche-Spark Tx


By Erin Harris, Editor-In-Chief, Cell & Gene
Follow Me On Twitter @ErinHarris_1

FDA logo


Scott Gottlieb Steps Down as FDA Commissioner

What a week. As you know, The Washington Post broke the news of Scott Gottlieb’s resignation as FDA Commissioner — the news, while not entirely unexpected, shot disappointment and concern through the entire healthcare industry. Nancy Bradish Myers, JD, president of Catalyst Healthcare Consulting penned an article for Cell & Gene that explains the silver lining of Gottlieb’s exit.

In addition to being a renowned, game-changing leader in his role, Gottlieb made headway with his anti-smoking and anti-vaping strategies, and industry leaders are concerned about the fate of these regulations. According to Vox, “[FDA’s] ability to make significant strides in reducing tobacco use is dependent on the continued leadership of the new commissioner and [Health] Secretary [Alex] Azar,” said Gregg Haifley, associate director of federal relations at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “Any successive commissioner who fails to acknowledge the public health crisis that is resulting from teen use of e-cigarettes and doesn’t continue to advance initiatives to curb use would represent a step backward for the public health of our nation.”

What’s next is uncertain; let us know how Gottlieb’s resignation directly impacts you and your role in the cell and gene therapy sector.

Roche Agrees to Purchase Spark TX

Last week, it was reported that Roche has agreed to purchase Spark Therapeutics, founded by researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for $4.3 billion. Spark said it will continue operating in Philadelphia as an independent company within Roche, a $57 billion multi-national that sells treatments for diseases from acne to cancer. Here at Cell & Gene, we view this as great news for the gene therapy sector (assuming the merger is finalized). And this is just the beginning for not only patient centricity and the advancement of gene therapies, but also cementing Philadelphia as the innovative leader in the sector.