Jean Bennett (Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP Images)

Lux­tur­na in­ven­tor Jean Ben­nett starts a new gene ther­a­py com­pa­ny to tack­le rare dis­eases left be­hind by phar­ma, VCs

A few years ago Jean Ben­nett found her­self in a sur­pris­ing place for a woman who in­vent­ed the first gene ther­a­py ever ap­proved in the Unit­ed States: No one, it seemed, want­ed her work.

Ben­nett, who de­signed and co-de­vel­oped Lux­tur­na, ap­proved in 2018 for a rare form of blind­ness, had kept build­ing new gene ther­a­pies for eye dis­eases at her Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia lab. But al­though the re­sults in an­i­mals looked promis­ing, phar­ma com­pa­nies and in­vestors kept turn­ing down the pedi­greed oph­thal­mol­o­gy pro­fes­sor.

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