2022 Commercialization Award
Co-founder and Former CEO and Board Member, Spark Therapeutics
During a career that has spanned the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, Jeff has tackled numerous scientific, medical, and healthcare system challenges to improve human health.
Over the course of 11 years, Jeff created and built Spark Therapeutics into the world’s first fully integrated, commercial gene therapy company – from an idea within the walls of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to a private, venture-backed start-up and a publicly traded biotech company, to an independent operating unit within Roche. Under Jeff’s leadership as co-founder and CEO, Spark developed and launched LUXTURNA® for a rare blinding disorder, the first gene therapy for a genetic disease in the United States. Spark also had advanced gene therapies for hemophilia B and A into Phase 3, part of an R&D portfolio spanning 9 diseases. At the time Jeff departed, Spark had grown to 850 employees and was named #5 in Science magazine’s top employer list. While at Spark, Jeff raised $1 billion including the 3rd best performing IPO of 2015, and had established major partnerships with Pfizer and Novartis. He also spearheaded the creation of novel reimbursement models to ensure patient access to genetic medicines and developed Spark’s 1 million square foot site master plan in Philadelphia, spurring the region’s cell and gene therapy sector. Jeff’s successful orchestration of Spark’s $4.8 billion sale to Roche in 2019 (including gaining antitrust clearances) marked a 100-fold increase in the company’s market value over 6 years and delivered financial returns of $750 million to Spark’s atypical founding investor, CHOP.
Prior to Spark, Jeff helped build the first genetic benefit management company up to and through its acquisition by CVS Caremark. He also previously served as an advisor to former Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, contributing to reforms in and the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program.
Jeff is a past member of the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and currently serves on the boards of multiple non-profit organizations, including Life Science Cares Philadelphia. Jeff has been named to the Bloomberg 50 list of people who changed global business and has been regularly featured in business news outlets on the topics of gene therapy and paying for cures.
Jeff holds multiple bachelor’s degrees in systems science and engineering and in economics from the University of Pennsylvania as well as multiple master’s degrees in business and public administration from Wharton and Harvard University, a dual degree program which he founded.
Nucleus Commercialization Award
Recognizes outstanding contributions to the commercialization of innovative science and technology. The awardee is a catalyst in the acceleration of technology transfer. By identifying and developing new and creative ways to transition discoveries to the marketplace, the awardee has a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, or the welfare of society.