Apertura Appoints Gene Therapy Executive Joseph La Barge as Chief Executive Officer
NEW YORK and CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 14, 2022 – Apertura Gene Therapy, a biotechnology company leveraging its novel platform technologies for developing genetic medicines to treat debilitating diseases, today announced the appointment of gene therapy executive Joseph La Barge as Chief Executive Officer.
La Barge joins Apertura with over 20 years of experience in building and operating life-science companies. Most recently, he served as Chief Business Officer of Spark Therapeutics, where he was one of the earliest employees and led the growth of the company through its acquisition by Roche for $4.8 billion in December 2019. La Barge succeeds Dave Greenwald, Ph.D., who served as Acting CEO from the founding of Apertura over a year ago and will remain on Apertura’s Board of Managers.
“Over the course of my career I have seen firsthand the profound impact gene therapies can have for patients and their caregivers. Apertura combines two powerful platform technologies from the Broad Institute and Harvard Medical School, and with the support of Deerfield, holds enormous promise to develop new AAV gene therapies that have the potential to alleviate a broad range of genetic diseases,” La Barge said. “I’m thrilled to join Apertura and lead the company as we further develop the capabilities of our platform and advance promising gene therapy programs.”
“Joe’s experience in building a leading gene therapy company and his expertise in what is required to develop a successful gene therapy provides an ideal foundation for Apertura,” Dr. Greenwald said. “It is a pleasure to welcome Joe to the team and I look forward to working with him to achieve our mission of developing transformative genetic medicines that advance the field of gene therapy and benefit patients.”
At Spark, La Barge served as Chief Business Officer from 2019 to 2021 and as Chief Legal Officer from 2013 to 2019. In these roles, he oversaw many areas of the company’s growth, including business development, patient advocacy, quality assurance, legal affairs, compliance, finance, public policy, and global pricing and reimbursement, growing the company to 830 employees over eight years. He led the negotiation of Spark’s acquisition by Roche, raised more than $1 billion in capital from private and public financings, and oversaw the in-license of numerous product candidates and platform technologies. La Barge also managed the acquisition and construction of Spark’s initial 180,000 square feet of office and laboratory space, including GMP suites, to manufacture the global supply of Luxturna. Prior to Spark, La Barge served as Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Chief Compliance Officer at Tengion, Inc., where he was responsible for managing legal affairs, compliance, and quality assurance. La Barge has served as a Member of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy Government Affairs Committee. He earned his B.A. in Education and Psychology at Bucknell University and his J.D. at the Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law.
About Apertura Gene Therapy
Apertura is a biotechnology company opening opportunities for treating currently intractable diseases. Apertura is uniquely positioned to develop genetic medicines by simultaneously engineering AAV capsids, genetic regulatory elements, and payloads to overcome limitations in cellular access, gene expression, pre-existing immunity, and manufacturability. Apertura is committed to growing the field of gene therapy by working with corporate and academic partners, patients, and foundations. Founded on technologies from the Broad Institute and other institutions, and with support from Deerfield Management Company, the company is based at the Cure, Deerfield’s innovation campus in New York City. For more information, please visit our website at www.aperturagtx.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.