Allergan plc announced that it has acquired all the assets of RetroSense, a private, clinical-stage biotechnology company, in an all-cash transaction. Under the terms of the transaction, Allergan has paid RetroSense a $60 million upfront payment, and has agreed to potential regulatory and commercialization milestone payments related to its lead development program, RST-001, a novel gene therapy for the potential treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).
"The acquisition of RetroSense and its RST-001 program builds on Allergan's deep commitment to eye care, and our focus on investing in game-changing innovation for retinal conditions, including Retinitis Pigmentosa, where patients desperately need treatment options," said Brent Saunders, CEO and President of Allergan.
Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a group of rare, inherited genetic disorders characterized by progressive peripheral vision loss and night vision difficulties followed by eventual central vision loss and blindness in many cases. Approximately 100,000 people living in the USi and 14 to 33 per 100,000 people worldwide have the disorder.ii
According to a press release, RST-001 is first-in-class gene therapy application of optogenetics, a therapeutic approach that confers light sensitivity to cells that were not previously, or natively, light sensitive. By applying optogenetics to retinas in which rod and cone photoreceptors have degenerated, the technology introduces additional light sensitivity to the retina. In 2014, RST-001 received an Orphan Drug Designation by the US FDA for the treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa.
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