Nanoscope Therapeutics Receives Orphan Drug Designation for Gene Therapy of Blindness

Nanoscope President to Deliver Talk on Gene Therapy for Retinal Diseases at Association for Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics Conference

This is the second program based on Nanoscope’s Multi-Characteristic Opsin Platform to receive orphan designation. This designation highlights the unmet need for therapy of patients with rare form of inherited macular degeneration.

BEDFORD, Texas, Jan. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — NANOSCOPE THERAPEUTICS Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company determined to change lives through the ocular gene therapy, today announced that it has received an Orphan drug designation from FDA for gene therapy-based treatment of Stargardt disease, a form of inherited retinal degenerative disease caused by gene mutation and passed on to children.

Central vision loss due to poor functioning RPE cells and loss of photoreceptors in the macula is the hallmark of Stargardt disease. According to Federation for Fighting Blindness, Stargardt disease is the most common form of inherited macular degeneration, affecting about 30,000 people in the U.S. The loss of vision is devastating to both children and adults, and significantly impacts their quality of life.  There is an immense need to restore vision in these patients.

“Currently, there are no approved therapies for Stargardt Disease” said Sulagna Bhattacharya, Chief Executive Officer of Nanoscope. “We are excited by the potential of ambient light activatable Multi-Characteristic Opsin (MCO) based photosensitization of retinal neurons for treating Stargardt disease in a gene agnostic manner.”

“vMCO-010 expands the portfolio of orphan drug designations obtained in multiple pipeline programs, expanding its therapeutic potential from Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) with peripheral retinal degeneration to macular degeneration as in Stargardt disease”, said Al Guillem, Chairman of Nanoscope Therapeutics Board.

Sai Chavala, Chief Medical Officer of Nanoscope, commented “We look forward to developing our innovative optogenetic platform technologies for visually-challenged patients through continued interaction with the FDA.  The orphan designation will aid in accelerating our clinical development program.”

The Orphan Drug Act encourage the development of medicines for rare diseases, and benefits include tax credits and application fee waivers designed to offset clinical development costs, as well as eligibility for seven years of post-approval market exclusivity.

“We are extremely excited and pleased to announce a second orphan drug designation for MCO based treatment for retinal diseases. Since the pathology of degenerated macula in Stargardt disease is similar to that of dry-AMD, we are very excited about the opportunity to learn from our Stargardt program and advance MCO-based dry-AMD program” said Samarendra Mohanty, President and Chief Scientific officer of Nanoscope that received an orphan designation in 2017 for MCO for treatment of RP.


Nanoscope Therapeutics is advancing gene therapy using light-sensitive molecules for giving sight to the millions of blind individuals suffering from retinal degenerative disease, for which no cure exists. We utilize an ambient light-sensitive MCO molecule to re-sensitize the retina toward ambient light level. Our pipeline includes optogenetics based retinal regeneration therapy for vision restoration in patients with RP, Stargardt disease, and dry-AMD.


Sulagna Bhattacharya
Investor Relations and Corporate Communications



Nanoscope Therapeutics, Inc.
Trinity Towers
2777 N. Stemmons Fwy.
Dallas, TX 75207
(817) 857-1186
  • Dr. Samarendra Mohanty, PhD |  Co-Founder & President

    Samarendra Mohanty (Co-Founder/President) is an inventor & serial entrepreneur with 20+ years experience in Biomedical Sciences. He is Co-Founder of several Biotechs and Biomedical device /diagnostic companies (developed & commercialized $100K+ biomedical instruments.)

    Samar obtained M.Tech in Applied Optics from the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi and a PhD in (Bio)Physics from the Indian Institute of Sciences-Bangalore.

    His extensive Biomedical Technologies experience includes serving as Professor/Senior Scientist at the University of Texas;  University of California, Irvine; Center for Adv. Tech (India); Int. Mol. Biotech (Germany); Univ. Pavia (Italy); NUS (Singapore); and University of St. Andrews (UK). He has authored over 200 international patents and publications in leading journals including Nature and Nature Photonics.

    He is the Principal Investigator for major grants from the National Eye Institute including Audacious Goal Initiative and Bioengineering Research grants. He serves on the editorial board of journals and chairs an international conference on optogenetics. He is the winner of a 2019 Healthcare Heroes award (Fort Worth Business Press), Retinal Organoid Challenge Award, Audacious Goal Initiative Award (NIH), Finalist of Tech Titan, and NIH-Director’s Innovator Award.