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Spark Therapeutics Announces Five Strategic New Hires

4/25/2014 12:59:23 PM

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PHILADELPHIA, Penn., April 22, 2014 -- Spark Therapeutics, a late-stage company developing gene-based medicines for a wide range of debilitating diseases, announced today that it has made five new hires into key functions to support business operations, clinical development, and research.

“The new additions to our team will deepen Spark’s already-considerable experience in AAV-mediated gene therapy manufacturing, clinical development, and regulatory submissions; and have first-hand knowledge of our platform through their work with Spark’s founding team in various academic and industry settings,” said Jeffrey D. Marrazzo, co- founder, president and chief executive officer of Spark Therapeutics. “I look forward to their contributions as we expand our pipeline of transformative therapies and potentially deliver the first approved gene therapy in the U.S.”

Linda Couto, Ph.D., whose previous positions include senior director of preclinical research at Avigen, Inc., senior research director at Benitec LLC, and associate director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics (CCMT) at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), will serve as vice president, pharmacology and toxicology. Linda Hearne, C.P.A., former vice president, finance and principal financial officer at Tengion, Inc., will serve as vice president, financial operations and analysis. Other appointments include Yi-Lin Emily Liu, clinical operations; Jingmin Zhou, Ph.D., process development; and Katie Wachtel, regulatory affairs.

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. 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’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.

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

Media Inquiries:
Jessica Rowlands

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