At Spark Therapeutics, a fully integrated, commercial company committed to discovering, developing and delivering gene therapies, we challenge the inevitability of genetic diseases, including blindness, hemophilia, lysosomal storage disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.
Founded in March 2013 as a result of the technology and know-how accumulated over two decades at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), our investigational therapies have the potential to provide long-lasting effects, dramatically and positively changing the lives of patients with conditions where no, or only palliative, therapies exist. Greater understanding of the human genome and genetic abnormalities have allowed our scientists to tailor investigational therapies to patients suffering from very specific genetic diseases. This approach holds great promise in developing effective treatments to a host of inherited diseases. Our initial focus is on treating orphan diseases.
Headquartered in dynamic Philadelphia, we are a diverse, experienced team united in our goal to break down barriers for people and families affected by genetic diseases. As our name suggests, our investigational, one-time therapies are designed to spark healthy biology, and deliver potentially life-altering transformation for people and families affected by genetic disease. Spark is a member of the Roche Group.
Challenge the inevitability of genetic disease by discovering, developing and delivering treatments in ways unimaginable – until now.
A world where no life is limited by genetic disease.
Dr. Federico Mingozzi is the chief scientific officer at Spark Therapeutics, bringing two decades of experience in gene therapy, immunology, as well as biochemistry and molecular biology in both industry and academic settings.
Federico began his scientific career studying the genetic basis of bleeding disorders. At the Children’s Hospital Philadelphia (CHOP) he conducted pioneering studies on liver gene transfer with adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors and immunology. Federico was involved in several first-in-human clinical studies of gene therapy based on the AAV vector platform while serving as the director of translational research the Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics, at CHOP. He also led studies aimed at the characterization of human immune responses to AAV vectors and the development of strategies to modulate vector immunogenicity.
He then joined the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) as Research Director and Genethon, a leading French nonprofit R&D organization focused on gene therapy for rare diseases, as Team Leader. There, he spearheaded the development of in vivo gene therapies for inherited diseases. His work continued to focus on the characterization of human immune responses to AAV vectors and on the development of strategies to overcome immune responses in gene transfer.
Throughout his distinguished career, Federico has received several awards and has contributed to the field of gene therapy with more than 100 scientific publications, including seminal findings in the field of AAV gene therapy. He is also the at-large director on the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) board of directors.
Federico received his bachelor’s degree in biology and his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Ferrara in Italy, and his M.B.A. from Drexel University. Federico also served as faculty at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France, and Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain.
Jeff Marrazzo founded and has led the growth of Spark Therapeutics from a research center within the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to a fully integrated, commercial gene therapy company that is challenging the inevitability of genetic disease by discovering, developing and delivering potential treatments in ways unimaginable – until now.
Under Jeff’s leadership, Spark received regulatory approval for the first gene therapy for a genetic disease in both the U.S. and EU, launched the first gene therapy for a genetic disease in the U.S., and established human proof-of-concept of Spark’s gene therapy platform in both the retina and liver. In more than eight years, Jeff has built an organization of more than 600 employees while securing over $1 billion in capital and successfully orchestrating a merger with Roche. Spark has been named a top-ten Science Magazine Top Employer in 2019 and 2020, listed on the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Best Places to Work list four consecutive years and was awarded the Prix Galien for Best Biotechnology Product in 2019.
Prior to Spark, he helped build the first genetic testing benefit management company up to and through the acquisition of a majority of the company’s shares by CVS Caremark. Previously, Jeff served as an advisor to former Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, where he led reforms in the financing and delivery of healthcare.
Jeff currently serves on the boards of the Life Science Cares Philadelphia and The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement. Jeff received a B.A. in economics and B.S.E. in systems science and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds a dual M.B.A. / M.P.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University, a program which he founded.
Jeff can be found on Twitter @JeffMarrazzo.
Jennifer Flaisher is the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at Spark Therapeutics, where she has responsibility for Human Resources (HR); Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and Corporate Communications and Community Engagement, and is focused on enabling, empowering and inspiring Spark’s most important resource – its talented people.
Jennifer and her team are responsible for translating business priorities into talent, communication and engagement strategies that strengthen Spark’s competitiveness and ability to fulfill its mission to challenge the inevitability of genetic disease. To support this mission, Jennifer’s team is focused on building a strong, values-driven culture, where everyone is respected, feels a sense of belonging and can thrive, and communicating with all of Spark’s key stakeholders, including the broader community, to enable meaningful engagement with the Company.
Jennifer joined Spark in 2017 and previously served as the Head of HR, leading the team that recruited, hired and onboarded hundreds of team members to more than double the Company’s size over four-year period. During her more than 20 years in HR, Jennifer has held a number of senior-level roles at leading bio-pharmaceutical companies. Her expertise is centered in business transformations and, organizational effectiveness, change management, HR effectiveness and creating employee-centric solutions. She served as Vice President of HR for Teva Pharmaceuticals, leading the HR function for its U.S. business, and at Shire Pharmaceuticals (now part of Takeda), as the Chief of Staff to the CHRO, in addition to a number of senior-level HR Business Partner roles.
Jennifer holds a B.S. from the University of Maryland and an MBA from Villanova University. She sits on the board of Women Golfers Give Back, a non-profit focused on helping girls build resilience and confidence through golf.
Ron Philip serves as Chief Operating Officer, working across the corporate management team to shape and implement strategic corporate priorities that drive the successful development, manufacturing and commercialization of Spark Therapeutics’ current and future gene therapies.
He is responsible for leading product strategy development and execution for Spark’s early and late-stage pipeline assets, including the governance and proactive management necessary to bring more gene therapies to patients living with genetic diseases. Ron is also responsible for the commercial organization, including commercial development, global marketing, commercial operations, diagnostics, market access and patient services functions.
Ron joined Spark in 2017 and most recently served as Chief Commercial Officer. He and his team developed Spark’s novel distribution and reimbursement model to support the launch of the first gene therapy approved for a genetic disease in the United States.
With more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Ron has a proven track record of improving operating performance in multiple therapeutic categories and global markets. Prior to joining Spark, he served in several senior leadership roles at Pfizer including Regional President for Africa/Middle East, Head of Global Business Unit Strategy, Head of Business Development Search and Evaluation and Commercial Development Lead within Pfizer’s Innovative Products Business.
He previously worked at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in U.S. commercial operations, with Deloitte Consulting in their strategy and operations practice and at Merck and Co. in the manufacturing and marketing divisions.
Ron is an alumnus of Drexel University.
Joe La Barge serves as the Chief Business Officer of Spark Therapeutics, Inc., where he oversees business development, government affairs, legal, compliance, patient advocacy and pricing and reimbursement.
Joe served as the Chief Legal Officer from 2013 to 2020, during which time he led multiple public and private financings, raising more than $1 billion in capital, structured multiple collaborations and partnerships and negotiated the merger with the Roche Group, including successfully guiding Spark through antitrust reviews by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the U.K. Competition and Market Authority. He has been instrumental in the development of novel distribution and reimbursement models for one-time therapeutics.
Prior to joining Spark, Joe spent 20 years as a corporate attorney in private practice and in-house representing private and public companies in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), licensing transactions, corporate governance matters and capital raising transactions.
Joe currently serves on the Board of Director of the National Pharmaceutical Council. He received a B.A. from Bucknell University and a J.D. from Temple University – James E. Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia, where he served as Editor in Chief of the Temple Law Review.
Dr. Gallia Levy is the Chief Medical Officer at Spark Therapeutics and leads strategic and operational teams throughout the product development lifecycle with responsibility for setting the global development strategy for current and pipeline programs. She serves as the principal physician and resident medical expert at Spark.
Prior to joining Spark, Gallia was Vice President and Global Head of the Rare Blood Disorders Franchise in Product Development at Genentech, another member of the Roche Group, where she was responsible for the clinical development of treatments for hemophilia A and other rare blood disorders such as paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS). Gallia first joined Genentech in 2009, where she worked in both early and late-stage clinical development. She later moved to Portola Pharmaceuticals, where she led the clinical development program for hematology and oncology indications spanning Phases 1 to registrational trials. She eventually returned to Genentech, taking responsibility for the global clinical development program for HEMLIBRA® during which time she led the transition from Phase 1 through to global registration for adults and children with hemophilia A.
Gallia is board-certified in hematology and earned an M.D. and Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Michigan, during which time discovered ADAMTS13, responsible for Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP). She completed her residency in internal medicine at Stanford University and a fellowship in hematology at the University of California, San Francisco. She also spent time at the Pasteur Institute during which she received an M.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Paris, VI and she holds a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Michael Retterath serves as Chief Strategy Officer at Spark Therapeutics, where he leads the development and implementation of Spark’s long-term corporate strategy, including portfolio and technology prioritization, enterprise-wide processes, long-range financial planning and the cultivation of collaborative partnerships to advance Spark programs.
Michael joins Spark Therapeutics from Bain & Company, where he served as a partner in the healthcare practice for a decade. In this role, Michael focused on corporate and business unit strategies, organizational transformations, product launches, growth strategies and new market entries. His experience spans multiple therapeutic areas, including rare disease, the central nervous system and ophthalmology across a wide range of modalities.
Prior to joining Bain in 2010, Michael was a partner at Monitor Group and head of the New York office, where he supported pharmaceutical treatment launches and growth strategies for 10 years. Before that, Michael was senior vice president at Sanofi Diagnostics Pasteur in Paris, France and a senior director at Boehringer Mannheim (now Roche) in Mannheim, Germany.
Michael earned an M.B.A. from the Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD) and holds a MSc. in molecular biology and a BSc. in biochemistry from the University of Waterloo in Canada.
Cynthia Pussinen, who has more than 25 years of experience leading teams in manufacturing, quality, supply chain, formulation development and process sciences in the biopharma industry, serves as Spark’s Chief Technical Officer (CTO). As CTO, Cynthia oversees pipeline process development, preclinical and clinical manufacturing and the commercial manufacturing and distribution of LUXTURNA® (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl). The team Cynthia leads also includes Technology Strategy and Operations, Quality Assurance, Quality Control and Analytical Sciences, Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology Development.
Previously, Cynthia served as Global Vice President and General Manager, Life Sciences and Specialty Chemicals for Honeywell International, Inc., where she developed and executed a comprehensive strategy designed for significant, sustained growth and innovation across multiple verticals including process automation and artificial intelligence (AI).
Prior to her role at Honeywell, she was the Executive Vice President, Technical Development, Operations and Supply Chain for Actinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Cynthia also worked at Ipsen Biosciences, the U.S. subsidiary of Ipsen, serving as President and, prior to that, Vice President of Technical Operations and Development. She spent more than 18 years at Pfizer in a variety of roles including portfolio and project management, logistics and supply chain, pharmaceutical sciences and as a scientist in medicinal chemistry.
Cynthia holds a Master of Science in R&D management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, with a minor in engineering from the University of Connecticut. She is lean six sigma certified, has been a mentor through the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and is a past recipient of a WEST (Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology) Giving Back Award.