Corporate Management Team
Jeffrey D. Marrazzo
Chief Executive Officer
Jeff Marrazzo has led the creation and 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. He also serves on Spark’s board of directors.
Under Jeff’s leadership, Spark has received regulatory approval for the first gene therapy for a genetic disease approved in both the U.S. and EU, launched the first gene therapy for a genetic disease in the United States, and has established human proof-of-concept of Spark’s gene therapy platform in both the retina and liver. In the six years since founding Spark, Jeff has secured more than $1 billion in capital and built an organization of more than 400 colleagues. For two years running, Spark has been named to the top 10 of MIT Technology Review’s “50 Smartest Companies”. It’s also been recognized as one of 2018’s most innovative companies in Biotech by Fast Company.
During a career that has spanned the public and private sectors, Jeff has consistently championed the potential benefits of precision medicine and healthcare reform for patients. Prior to Spark, he helped build the first genetic testing benefit management and pharmacogenomics medicines 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 as a board member of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). 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.
Katherine A. High, M.D.
President and Head of Research and DevelopmentDr. Kathy High, an accomplished hematologist with a longstanding interest in gene therapy for genetic disease, began her career studying the molecular basis of blood coagulation and the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of bleeding disorders.
Her pioneering bench-to-bedside studies of gene therapy for hemophilia led to a series of studies that characterized the human immune response to adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors in a variety of target tissues. Kathy’s work has evolved to encompass clinical translation of potential gene therapies for multiple inherited disorders. As the director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Kathy assembled a multidisciplinary team of scientists and researchers working to discover new gene and cell therapies for genetic diseases and to facilitate rapid translation of preclinical discoveries into clinical application.
As president at Spark Therapeutics, she has led the development and received regulatory approval of the first gene therapy for a genetic disease approved in both the U.S. and EU. Spark has shown human proof-of-concept of its leading gene therapy platform in both the retina and the liver, and has received breakthrough therapy designations for three different therapeutics across two different tissue targets, the eye and the liver. In addition to her operational role, Kathy serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Spark.
Kathy was a long-time member of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and of the medical staff at CHOP, where she was also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She served a five-year term on the FDA Advisory Committee on Cell, Tissue and Gene Therapies and is a past president of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT). She received her A.B. in chemistry from Harvard University, an M.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, a business certification from the University of North Carolina Business School Management Institute for Hospital Administrators and an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Chief Financial OfficerStephen Webster has nearly 30 years of experience as a financial professional in the life sciences industry. Prior to Spark Therapeutics, Stephen was senior vice president, finance and chief financial officer at Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a commercial-stage company in the antibiotic field. Before that, he served in the same capacity at Adolor Corporation, a commercial-stage company in the gastrointestinal space. Stephen played an integral role in the sale of both Optimer and Adolor to Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Prior to taking his first operating role, Stephen spent 15 years as an investment banker to life sciences companies, raising more than $3 billion in financings and advising clients on more than $3 billion in aggregate mergers and acquisitions value.
Stephen received his A.B. in economics from Dartmouth College and his M.B.A. in finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Daniel R. Faga
Chief Business OfficerDan Faga brings more than 15 years of biopharma industry experience to the company. Dan is responsible for Corporate Strategy & Public Affairs at Spark Therapeutics including leadership of the portfolio and new product planning, patient advocacy, business development, alliance management, corporate communications and corporate strategy functions.
Prior to joining Spark Therapeutics, Dan was a managing director at Centerview Partners, where he served as a founding member of Centerview’s healthcare advisory practice. Primarily focused in the life sciences sector, Dan has extensive expertise in corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and partnering, and he has advised on more than $50 billion in biopharma transactions. Prior to Centerview, Dan worked at Merrill Lynch in its healthcare investment banking group and as a management consultant in the life sciences practice at PRTM.
Dan earned a B.S. in engineering from Cornell University and an M.B.A. in healthcare management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Joseph La Barge, J.D.
Chief Legal OfficerJoe serves as the Chief Legal Officer of Spark Therapeutics, Inc., where he oversees legal, compliance, government affairs and pricing and reimbursement. Spark is a fully integrated biotechnology company committed to discovering, developing and delivering gene therapies that challenge the inevitability of genetic diseases, including blindness, hemophilia and neurodegenerative diseases. Spark has received regulatory approval for the first gene therapy approved in both the U.S. and EU, launched the first gene therapy for a genetic disease in the United States, and has established human proof-of-concept of Spark’s gene therapy platform in both the retina and liver.
In his five years at Spark, Joe has led multiple public and private financings, raising more than $1 billion in capital since its founding in 2013 and been instrumental in the development of novel distribution and reimbursement models for one-time therapeutics. Joe currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Life Sciences Pennsylvania and the National Pharmaceutical Council.
Chief People OfficerLisa Dalton has more than 20 years of strategic and operational human resources experience across the biopharmaceutical and financial services industries. She began her tenure at Spark Therapeutics as the Head of Human Resources and after joining the company’s corporate management team, was made Chief Human Resource Officer. In January 2019, Lisa was appointed Chief People Officer and oversees human resources, information technology and corporate facilities. As a core member of Spark’s management team, she has been instrumental in shaping the culture, capabilities, operating model and employee experience during a period of tremendous growth and evolution from a pre-IPO start-up to a fully integrated, commercial gene therapy company.
Lisa was previously vice president, human resources at Shire, where she led various human resources functions to meet the needs of a high-growth organization, including human resources-related merger and acquisition efforts, the total rewards function and the human resources operations function. While on international assignment in Switzerland, Lisa played a critical role in planning and launching Shire’s European hub, where she was a member of the site leadership team, championed the culture and values of the organization and had oversight of the talent strategies for the newly established site.
Lisa also has held roles in human resources with Franklin Templeton Investments, Applied Biosystems and Goldman Sachs.
Lisa holds an M.B.A. from Rutgers University School of Business and a B.A. in psychology from Pennsylvania State University.
Chief Scientific Officer
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 bases 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.
Federico currently serves as faculty at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France, and Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain. He 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. Throughout his distinguished career, Federico has received several awards and has contributed to more than 90 publications, including seminal findings in the field of AAV gene therapy.