Allergan has secured itself exclusive access to Editas Medicine’s genome-editing ocular programmes under a strategic research and development pact between the two firms.

The deal also gives Allergan the option to license up to five of these programmes - based the firm’s CRISPR Genome Editing Platform, including its lead candidate for Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA10) - a rare, inherited retinal degenerative disease that appears in childhood and leads to blindness - currently in preclinical development.

"The CRISPR genome editing platform holds the potential to transform the treatment of many genetic and non-genetically derived diseases, including diseases and conditions of the eye," said David Nicholson, chief research and development officer at Allergan.

"The Allergan team is excited to work with colleagues at Editas Medicine to develop and potentially deliver game-changing treatment for retinal diseases like LCA10. This programme is highly complementary to our ongoing eye care development programs where unmet medical need exists for patients."

Under the terms of the deal, Editas will receive an upfront payment of $90 million, as well as additional payments for achieving important near-term milestones specifically related to LCA10.

Allergan will be responsible for development and commercialisation of the optioned products, subject to Editas' option right to co-develop and co-promote up to two optioned products in the US. Editas also stands to bag development and commercial milestones, as well as royalty payments on a per-programme basis.