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9 November 2017

Nightstar picks up Stargadt licence

Nightstar has added a licence for a potential treatment of Stargardt disease to its portfolio.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

Nightstar Therapeutics, a UK-based retina-focused gene therapy spinout of University of Oxford, licensed a proof-of-concept yesterday from the university’s tech transfer office Oxford University Innovation.

The proof-of-concept seeks to tackle Stargardt disease, a currently untreatable condition that causes progressive vision loss and often blindness. The therapy targets an inherited gene called ABCA4 responsible for damaging photoreceptor cells towards the centre of the retina.

Nightstar hopes to utilise the clinical experience gained elsewhere in its portfolio to expedite development of the candidate.

Nightstar was founded in 2014 and floated on the Nasdaq stock exchange for approximately $75m last month. Shares were trading at $21.10 each at the time of writing.

The spinout had raised $95.5m before the listing, including $45m obtained from Syncona, New Enterprise Associates, Wellington Management and Redmile Group in June 2017.

Nightstar’s lead candidate, NSR-REP1, seeks to remedy chloridaemia, a retinal disorder for which there are no efficient treatments at present. It is also developing the NSR-RPGR treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, another inherited eye disease.

Dave Fellows, chief executive of Nightstar, said: “The licensing of this novel gene therapy program exemplifies our commitment to developing treatments for patients suffering from inherited retinal diseases that would otherwise lead to blindness.”

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