Ann Arbor Company Takes Next Step Toward Treatment of Degenerative Eye Disease

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Ann Arbor-based RetroSense Therapeutics LLC, a biopharmaceutical company, today announced its new drug for the treatment of a degenerative eye disease has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to proceed with human clinical trials.

“This brings us one step closer to realizing our ambition of improving vision in those individuals with currently incurable blindness,” says Sean Ainsworth, CEO of RetroSense Therapeutics.

He says the privately held company is developing life-enhancing gene therapies designed to restore vision in patients suffering from blindness and other aliments and diseases. Ainsworth says there are currently no FDA-approved drugs to improve or restore vision in patients with these retinal degenerative conditions.

Ainsworth says RetroSense expects to initiate a clinical trial by the end of the year in order to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the drug. He says the company is working to confer light sensitivity to the retina, and expects to improve or restore vision for patients with retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited, degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment.

“My hope from early on was to see our work improve the lives of people with vision defects,” says Dr. Zhuo-Hua Pan, the inventor of RetroSense Therapeutics’ optogenetic approach. “It’s great to see the approach moving imminently into human clinical studies.”

Retinitis pigmentosa affects an estimated 100,000 people in the United States.

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