DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s a big payoff for a Wayne State University startup that has developed a gene therapy to cure blindness in those with retinitis pigmentosa.

Allergan plc, a global pharmaceutical company announced Tuesday that it has acquired substantially all of the assets of Wayne State University startup, RetroSense Therapeutics LLC.

RetroSense has led clinical trials of RST-001 in patients with RP with the goal of restoring some vision in patients with this genetic condition that leads to the progressive degeneration of rod and cone photoreceptors – light-sensing cells found in the retina – resulting in severe vision loss and blindness. Approximately 100,000 people living in the U.S. and 14 to 33 per 100,000 people worldwide have the disorder according the Foundation for Fighting Blindness and the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the U.S. National Library of Medicine according to a statement released by WSU.

The therapy for RP blindness stems from “years of research by early pioneers in optogenetics for vision restoration, including Zhuo-Hua Pan, Ph.D,  at WSU’s School of Medicine and Richard Masland, Ph.D., at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.”

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