Ann Arbor’s RetroSense Acquired by Dublin Pharmaceutical Company


Allergan, a Dublin-based global pharmaceutical company, has acquired a majority of the assets from RetroSense Therapeutics, an Ann Arbor-based biopharmaceutical company focused on approaches to restoring vision, for $60 million.

As part of the acquisition, Allergan has also agreed to potential regulatory and commercialization milestone payments related to the development of RST-001, a gene therapy created by RetroSense for the potential treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, which is a group of genetic disorders that can lead to blindness.

“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,” says Sean Ainsworth, former CEO of RetroSense Therapeutics.

RST-001 uses optogenetic approaches — a technique that involves the use of light to control cells in living tissue — to introduce additional light sensitivity to the retina and improve vision in patients with retinitis pigmentosa.

Ainsworth says the addition of the RST-001 therapy to Allergan, which develops, manufactures, and commercializes branded pharmaceuticals, devices, and biological products, will position it to be used by ophthalmology professionals around the world.

Earlier this month, RetroSense received a patent for its proposed method for restoring vision for people suffering from photoreceptor cell degeneration. In March, the company announced that the first patient was successfully dosed in the first clinical trial to evaluate the safety of RST-001.