A Trinity College Dublin spin-off bio-pharma company has been sold to a US firm for €5.4m and 265,000 shares.

Genable Technologies, which makes gene-based drugs that treat genetic diseases, has been purchased by Spark Therapeutics - an American firm considered a leader in gene therapy.

Genable was set up on campus in Trinity 13 years ago out of the research of Professor Jane Farrar, Dr Paul Kenna and Professor Peter Humphries.

It is expected that the takeover will lead to the research that Genable has worked on being converted into products approved for market.

Among the likely candidates is RhoNova, a potential treatment that targets a form of the eye disease retinitis pigmentosa which can result in visual impairment and even blindness.

The two companies have been working together in the area of inherited retinal disease for the past two years.

"Without doubt at this juncture Spark Therapeutics provides the optimal way for this innovative therapy to progress to patients," said Professor of Genetics at Trinity, Jane Farrar, who has been involved in building Genable. 

According to Trinity College Dublin, shareholders in Genable will receive $6 million following the sale, along with 265,000 shares of Spark common stock. 

It did not disclose the other financial terms that are part of the deal.

Among those who have supported and invested in the company are Fountain Healthcare Partners, Delta Partners, Fighting Blindness Ireland, Foundation Fighting Blindness Clinical Research Institute (US) and Enterprise Ireland.