Potentia Pharmaceuticals, a firm headed by UofL researchers, sold the drug for age-related macular degeneration to Alcon, the world’s largest eye-care company. The deal, which was announced Oct. 23, gives Alcon licensing rights to the drug. It also gives Alcon the option to buy the company.

Potentia’s drug compound is aimed at blocking the deterioration of the central retina that causes macular degeneration. More than 10 million Americans have the incurable disease. If the drug is approved by the FDA, the company could receive hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a report in The Courier-Journal.

Potentia was founded in 2001 in the Boston area and moved in 2003 to Louisville, where its growth was aided by UofL and two related organizations that help life-sciences companies grow — Nucleus and MetaCyte Business Lab. Company CEO Cedric Francois came to UofL to work with its hand transplant program. The company’s top two scientists secured posts through the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.