ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss drugmaker Roche (S:) has agreed to extend the takeover deadline in its $4.3 billion bid for U.S. gene therapy specialist Spark Therapeutics (O:), adding it remains “fully committed” to the transaction and expects it to close this year.

The new deadline for both companies to extend the merger agreement now runs to April 30, 2020, rather than Jan. 31, 2020, Roche said in a U.S. regulatory filing on Monday, saying the change provides “additional time to clear the transaction”.

“Although closing this deal is taking longer than I had hoped, my excitement about our anticipated partnership has only increased,” Roche Chief Executive Severin Schwan wrote in a note to Spark employees that was published by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “While we still expect this transaction to close in 2019, we want to ensure that we proactively identify and remove any potential future obstacles to achieving this outcome.”

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2019-07-08