Weekly Market Update


Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, which is affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, reaped a $456 million reward six years after investing $50 million in a spinoff company called Spark Therapeutics, which Roche Holding AG agreed this week to buy for $4.8 billion. The Children's Hospital founded the company to accelerate gene therapy commercialization, and Spark's first drug, Luxterna, is a gene therapy drug for blindness. A few universities and academic medical centers have made comparably large profits from drug development, more typically through royalty streams rather than direct investment. UCLA made $520 million after selling royalty rights to its prostate cancer drug Xtandi, and Northwestern made $1.4 billion from royalties on its nerve pain and anti-seizure drug, Lyrica.

In Other News

  • Michael Cohen testified on Wednesday that, at Trump's request, he threatened the high school Trump attended, the College Board, Fordham University, and the University of Pennsylvania with civil and criminal action if they releases Trump's academic records.
  • Congress approved $43 million of federal financing for Auburn University's new agricultural science research facility. The funds will help establish a new USDA Agricultural Research Soil Dynamics Laboratory for conducting sustainability research on crops and livestock.
  • The University of Texas will add a Game Development and Design Program to its Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies. Texas has a growing game development industry, and this new curriculum was created for undergraduates interested in gaming industry careers.
  • The College of New Rochelle, a 115-year old Catholic school in New York, will likely be forced to end operations this summer. The college has faced financial troubles since discovering $31 million in unmet financial obligations five years ago. Nearby Mercy College is working to take in students and faculty from the college.
  • Utah's commissioner of public safety announced that Brigham Young University police officers will be stripped of their authority to make arrests and investigate crimes. A three-year investigation of the BYU police department found that it misused a police record database and failed to follow up on allegations against an officer.