AN AUDIENCE WITH

Kathy High

When Kathy High started working on haemophilia in her academic lab at the University of North Carolina in the 1980s, she never imagined that she’d go on to co-create the company that would usher in the era of gene therapies. But, as founding President and Chief Scientific Officer of Spark Therapeutics, her work helped to validate the emergent modality. And since the FDA’s landmark 2017 approval for Spark Therapeutics’s voretigene neparvovec, for the treatment of an inherited retinal disease, the field of gene therapy has been booming. After Roche acquired Spark for US$4.8 billion in 2019, High decided it was time to return to the research lab. But the COVID-19 pandemic quickly put a damper on those plans, and High started thinking about returning to industry. Now, she has joined Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio) — recently acquired by Bayer for $2 billion upfront and up to $2 billion in milestones — as President of Therapeutics. High spoke with Asher Mullard about her career path, gene therapy manufacturing innovations and the field’s changing clinical focus.

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Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 20, 170-171 (2021)

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