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Spark Therapeutics Plans Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Gene Therapy Innovation Center

Spark Therapeutics, a member of Swiss-based Roche Group, will Invest $575 million in a new state-of-the-art gene therapy innovation center on Drexel University’s City Campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Through a 99-year ground lease of Drexel’s F Lot, the new center will be located at the intersection of 30th and Chestnut Streets. Terms of the ground lease, including financial terms, were not disclosed. Construction is anticipated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2022.

“Through this significant investment and plans to more than double our physical footprint, we're poised for continued growth as we seek to develop the next generation of genetic medicines as a member of the Roche Group,” said Jeff Marrazzo, CEO and co-founder, of Spark Therapeutics. “Since founding Spark eight years ago, Philadelphia has been part of our company’s DNA and we’re proud to continue to call Philadelphia home for many years to come.”

As part of the projected 1 million-square-foot campus, the anticipated 500,000-square-foot, multi-story building will serve as a Roche global center of excellence for gene therapy manufacturing, university officials said.

“As one of the U.S.’s leading biotech hubs, there is no doubt that Philadelphia will play a crucial role in the advancement of cell and gene therapies,” said Severin Schwan, CEO, Roche. “Spark’s gene therapy innovation center creates endless opportunities for collaboration, talent development and research investment, and we’re proud to make a long-term commitment to the city and add Philadelphia to the Roche map.”

In addition to Spark’s physical expansion, the announcement marks the beginning of a long-term partnership with Drexel and is part of Spark’s larger commitment to sparking positive change in the Philadelphia community.

“We are proud to partner with Spark Therapeutics in advancing life sciences research and innovation in University City,” said Drexel President John Fry. “This partnership will generate unparalleled opportunities for our students and faculty to participate in groundbreaking research and to help create and sustain the workforce that will make West Philadelphia a leader in the life sciences revolution.”

Spark Therapeutics, Inc. is a developer of gene therapy treatments, which treat debilitating genetic diseases.

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