From Law to Biotech: Joseph La Barge on Starting a Company and the Future of Gene Therapy

March 26, 2024


In this month’s episode of Trends from the Trenches, host Stan Gloss speaks with Joseph La Barge. La Barge trained as an attorney but has spent most of his career building biotech businesses and securing funding. He shepherded Spark Therapeutics through its acquisition by Roche and has since joined Apertura Gene Therapy as CEO. He and Stan talk about the entrepreneurship journey, gene expression and capsid engineering, and Apertura’s future goals and projects.

Joseph La Barge, CEO, Apertura Gene Therapy
Joseph La Barge is CEO and serves on the Board of Managers of Apertura Gene Therapy. Previously, Mr. La Barge was an executive at Spark Therapeutics, Inc., serving as Chief Business Officer from 2019 to 2021 and as Chief Legal Officer from 2013 to 2019. In these roles, he oversaw many areas of company growth, including business development, patient advocacy, quality assurance, legal affairs, compliance, finance, public policy and global pricing and reimbursement, growing the company to 830 employees over eight years. He led the negotiation of Spark’s acquisition by Roche, raised more than $1 billion in capital from private and public financings and oversaw the in-license of numerous product candidates and platform technologies. Mr. La Barge also managed the acquisition and construction of Spark’s initial 180,000 square feet office and laboratory space, including GMP suites, to manufacture the global supply of Luxturna. Prior to Spark, Mr. La Barge served as Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Chief Compliance Officer at Tengion, Inc., where he was responsible for managing legal affairs, compliance and quality assurance. Mr. La Barge has served as a Member of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy Government Affairs Committee. He earned his BA in Education and Psychology at Bucknell University and his JD at Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law.

Host Bio

Stan Gloss


As co-founder and Evangelist of BioTeam, Stan Gloss has been working to tell the stories of the intersection of science, data and technology since 2002. Gloss joined with fellow founding partners Bill Van Etten and Chris Dagdigian to form BioTeam in 2002 following his tenure in business development with AVAKI Corporation, a pioneer in global grid software solutions, and Blackstone Computing, a computing and IT consulting company for scientists, Gloss led the sales initiative that launched the company in the life sciences market. Gloss earned his MS at the University of Buffalo and was a department chairman and faculty member at Quinnipiac University.

A life science IT consulting firm at the intersection of science, data, and technology, BioTeam builds innovative scientific data ecosystems that close the gap between what scientists want to do with data—and what they can do. Learn more at