The international pharmaceutical company Allergan has purchased a private American company RetroSense Terapeutics and received global rights to the RST-001 drug and other company assets. One of the leading RetroSense Terapeutics's investors in 2015 was RBV Capital Fund created with participation of RVC capital and SC R-Pharm, the leading Russian private pharmaceutical company.
The International pharmaceutical company Allergan purchased global rights to the RetroSense Therapeutics RTS-001drug from the private American biotechnology company RetroSense Terapeutics even before the first stage of clinical tests had ended. It confirms high relevance of the drug that is created based on gene therapy and optogenetics and that is designated to recover eyesight in patients suffering from pigmented retinitis and age-related macular degeneration. The amount of the first transaction tranche is $60 million, the further payments related to completion of the clinical tests stages and launching of the drug on the market are expected as well.
Pigmented retinitis is a genetic incurable degenerative disease of eyes that causes significant loss of vision and blindness as a result of damage to the visual receptor cells of the eye's retina. The existing medicine just slow down vision loss, but they can't prevent it. Currently, about 0.03-0.04% of the world population suffer from pigmented retinitis, about 100 000 patients live in the USA, about 50 000 — in Russia.
RST-001 is the first drug of a kind based on gene therapy and optogenetics that makes eye retina cells that didn't have such an ability to be visual receptors. The company drug was based on the unique research of the scientists from Wayne State University and Massachusetts General Hospital. Company technology makes retina ganglion cells be visual receptors in patients that became blind as a result of degeneration of the standard visual receptor cell — rod and cone cells. In 2014, RST-001 drug received Orphan Drug Designation of FDA to cure pigmented retinitis; in August 2015, permission for clinical tests of stage I/IIa was obtained; in March 2016, clinical tests began; in August 2016, the company announced successful dose-finding for the first cohort of patients. In August 2016, the company also obtained exclusive rights for the next generation of optogenetics drugs developed by the Nobel laureate Roger Y. Tsien from the University of San-Diego.
RTS-001 drug may appear the efficient medicine for partial recovery of eyesight in case of the other eye diseases as well.
Successful investment in RetroSense Therapeutics demonstrated that investment partnership as a form is not just viable, but it also allows making investments in the breakthrough projects all over the world. We return the funds to our respected investors and hope to return even more as the company achieves the planned milestones and receives further tranche payments as provided in the purchase and sale agreement with Allergan company. We also hole that after completion of the clinical tests the technology will successfully enter the market and will be available to the patients all over the world, including Russia, Aleksey Konov, a member of the Board of Directors of RetroSense Therapeutics, managing partner of RBV Capital Fund stated.
In 2015, RBV Capital became a co-leader of B-round investment on the phase of completion of pre-clinical research by investing about $2 million in RetroSense Therapeutics capital.