A. Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D.

    A. Lorris
    A. Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D.
    Senior Vice President Emeritus of Health Sciences, University of Utah
    Dr. A. Lorris Betz joined University of Utah in June 1999 as senior vice president for health sciences, dean of the School of Medicine and chief executive officer of the University of Utah Health Care. He held faculty appointments in the departments of pediatrics (professor with tenure) and neurobiology and anatomy (adjunct professor).
    During his time at the University of Utah, Lorris twice served as interim president. Following his retirement in 2012, he was named senior vice president emeritus of health sciences and was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree by the university.

    Lorris received his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1969 and M.D. and Ph.D. in biochemistry and physiology in 1975 from the University of Wisconsin, and he completed his pediatric residency and a research fellowship in pediatric neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. He joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in the departments of pediatrics and neurology in 1979 and later was appointed to the faculty in the department of surgery. Other administrative appointments at the University of Michigan included associate dean for faculty affairs, senior associate dean for academic affairs, executive associate dean and interim dean.

    Lorris’ research focused on the physiology of the blood-brain barrier and the biochemical mechanisms that lead to brain injury in stroke. He has published over 150 scientific papers and chapters. He currently serves on the board and executive committee of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
    Independent Director

    Lars Ekman, M.D., Ph.D.

    Lars Ekman, M.D., Ph.D.
    Lars Ekman, M.D., Ph.D.
    Former President of Research and Development, Elan

    Dr. Lars Ekman has 30 years of experience in senior executive, scientific and clinical functions. He has served as executive partner at Sofinnova Ventures since 2008, lending his extensive expertise in the life sciences industry to the investment team in driving new companies toward success.

    Prior to joining Sofinnova Ventures, Lars was president of research and development at Elan. He is credited with advancing Elan’s drug discovery pipeline during his tenure, and under his leadership, the company received approval for four U.S. New Drug Applications, three European Marketing Approval Applications and five Investigational New Drug Applications. These efforts advanced Elan’s immunotherapeutic approach and brought to market three neuroscience products, including Tysabri for multiple sclerosis. Prior to joining Elan, Lars was executive vice president, research and development, at Schwarz Pharma AG, and before that, held a variety of senior scientific and clinical roles at Pharmacia (now Pfizer).

    Lars is chairman of Amarin Corporation and Prothena Biosciences, executive chairman of Sophiris Bioscience, and a member of the board of directors of Ocera Therapeutics. He was co-founder and chief executive officer of Cebix, Inc. and previously served on the board of directors of InterMune (acquired by Roche) and Elan Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Perrigo).

    Lars is a board-certified surgeon with a Ph.D. in experimental biology and an M.D. from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

    Independent Director

    Stephen Webster

      stephan webster
      Stephen Webster
      Chief Financial Officer
      Stephen 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.

      Katherine A. High, M.D.

        Katherine A. High, M.D.
        Katherine A. High, M.D.
        President and Head of Research and Development

        Dr. 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 regulatory approval of the first gene therapy for a genetic disease in the United States. 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.

        Jeffrey D. Marrazzo

          Jeffrey D. Marrazzo
          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 FDA approval for and 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 five years since founding Spark, Jeff has secured more than $1 billion in capital and built an organization of more than 325 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.