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Allergan expands eye care pipeline with acquisition


DUBLIN and ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Allergan announced Tuesday that it had acquired substantially all of the assets of RetroSense Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on novel gene therapy approaches to restore vision for patients with blindness. The acquisition saw Allergan pay RetroSense a $60 million upfront payment, with the promise of potential regulatory and commercialization milestone payments for the company’s lead development program, RST-001 — a potential therapy for retinitis pigmentosa. 


"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," Allergan president and CEO Brent Saunders said. 


Currently, RST-001 has been administered in a low dose to patients enrolled in a Phase 1/IIa clinical trial. The drug is a gene therapy that uses an approach that confers light sensitivity to cells that weren’t previously or natively light sensitive. 


"With its deep commitment to eye care, strong eye care professional community network, and its commitment to advancing innovation across retinal conditions, Allergan was the most compelling partner and the best strategic fit to advance the development of RST-001 and maximize the potential for this technology platform," RetroSense Therapeutics’s former CEO, Sean Ainsworth, said. “The addition of RST-001 to Allergan's world-class eye care development and commercialization organization will position this potentially revolutionary technology to be used by ophthalmology professionals to improve the treatment of patients with retinal diseases around the world.”


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