Children's Hospital agitating for board seat at Spark Therapeutics

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Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation wants to have a representative back on the board of Spark Therapeutics, which was spun out of CHOP in 2013.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation on Friday criticized corporate governance practices at Spark Therapeutics Inc., a Children’s Hospital gene therapy spin-off that has made waves with an $850,000 treatment to cure a rare form of blindness.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filing said the CHOP Foundation, which now controls 10.7 percent of Spark and is Spark’s third-largest shareholder, had a representative on Spark’s board until June. The foundation, with $1.4 billion in net assets, said it has been talking to Spark about returning to the board or at least having input on a director.

The foundation cited two deficiencies in the governance of Philadelphia-based Spark: it is impossible to replace the entire board at once and the company requires a 75 percent vote of stockholders for certain changes to its charter or bylaws. Neither party responded to a request for comment.