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Allergan acquired clinical-stage gene-therapy company, RetroSense Therapeutics, for $60 million.
On September 6, 2016 Allergan announced that it has acquired RetroSense Therapeutics, a private, clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on using gene-therapy to restore vision in blind patients. Allergan said in a press announcement that it paid $60 million upfront for the company and has agreed to potential regulatory and commercialization milestone payments.
RetroSense’s lead development program RST-001, a novel-gene therapy for the potential treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), is an optogenetic approach which employs a photosensitivity gene, channelrhodopsin-2, to create new photosensors in retinal ganglion cells to potentially restore vision in retinal degenerative conditions. In 2014, the drug received Orphan Drug Designation from FDA for the treatment of RP. In August 2015, RetroSense's Investigational New Drug application for RST-001 received clearance from FDA. The company is currently evaluating the drug’s safety and efficacy in Phase I/IIa trials.
"Retinitis Pigmentosa patients from around the world are closely following the RST-001 study," David G. Birch, PhD, chief scientist and executive officer of the Retina Foundation of the Southwest and principal investigator of the Phase I/IIa clinical trial said in a statement. "Today, the treatment options are so limited, physicians are excited about the potential to restore or improve vision for their patients."