- Allergan announced Tuesday morning it acquired privately-held RetroSense Therapeutics in an all-cash transaction which will add to the Irish pharma's eye-care offerings.
- Allergan will pay $60 million upfront, along with an undisclosed amount in milestones related to regulatory and commercial activity for the biotech's lead pipeline candidate, RST-001.
- RST-001 is a gene therapy for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a group of inherited genetic disorders characterized by progressive peripheral vision loss and difficulty with night vision followed by eventual total blindness.
With this latest deal, Allergan adds to its already plentiful eye care portfolio, and throws its weight behind gene therapies, giving the approach further validation.
RST-001 already has an Orphan Drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and its' Investigational New Drug application was approved by the agency earlier this year, allowing the company to begin clinical testing in humans.
RetroSense is currently dosing patients with a low-dose of the gene therapy in a Phase 1/2a safety study. RST-001 brings light sensitivity to cells that are not natively light sensitive.
"The RST-001 program and its optogenetic gene therapy approach could be a real breakthrough in the treatment of unmet needs across a host of retinal conditions, including RP," said David Nicholson, chief R&D officer at Allergan, in a statement.
"The team at Allergan is excited by the prospect of advancing an entirely new approach in the treatment of retinal diseases, and this technology is highly complementary to our ongoing development programs in this critical treatment area."
The acquisition comes just weeks after Allergan paid $95 million upfront for privately-held biotech ForSight VISION5, which makes a peri-ocular ring meant to extend drug delivery and reduce elevated intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients.