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 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.
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.
Chief Operating OfficerJohn Furey is responsible for global commercial operations, medical affairs, technology development and technical operations at Spark Therapeutics. He has 25 years of experience in developing and implementing operational strategies and leading commercial and technical teams.
Prior to joining Spark Therapeutics, John was senior vice president and head of global operations for Baxalta, where he directed manufacturing, quality, engineering, and process development. He actively managed a $2.5 billion production budget across Baxalta's global network and led a first-in-class supply chain organization for rare diseases. John led the team that coordinated and delivered the successful establishment of Baxalta through a spin out from Baxter and led the Baxter Vaccine inline business to realize significant top line and bottom line growth. He also spent two years in China as general manager of Pfizer’s vaccine business unit following a role with responsibility for global pricing and reimbursement at Pfizer Vaccines. In these roles, John gained extensive experience in pipeline development and global product launches. Earlier in his career, he held both commercial and operations positions of increasing scope and responsibility with Pfizer and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.John has an executive M.B.A. from St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, a B.S. from Trinity College, Dublin, and a diploma in Environmental Health from the Dublin Institute of Technology.
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 La Barge is a seasoned executive and legal advisor with more than 15 years of experience counseling life science companies and healthcare institutions. Before joining Spark Therapeutics, Joe was vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer at Tengion, Inc., a clinical-stage regenerative medicine company, where he oversaw legal affairs, compliance and quality assurance. While at Tengion, Joe helped lead the company’s initial public offering in 2010. Joe also played an integral role in developing Tengion’s intellectual property strategies for their novel, first-in-class, cell-based therapies.
Joe was previously of counsel at Ballard Spahr LLP in Philadelphia, where he advised biotechnology companies in private and public financings, mergers and acquisitions, and collaboration and licensing transactions. He also served as deputy general counsel to the Kennedy Health System in New Jersey.
Joe received his J.D. from Temple University and a B.A. from Bucknell University.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Lisa Dalton has more than 15 years of strategic and operational human resources experience across the biopharmaceutical and financial services industries. Lisa was previously vice president, human resources at Shire, where she led HR merger and acquisition activity and implementation. While at Shire, Lisa played many other critical roles within HR, including building and leading the compensation function, implementing an HR systems platform, and establishing the HR operations function.
Lisa also has held roles in compensation and HR business partnering with Franklin Templeton Investments and Applied Biosystems.
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.