Announced in June, former CEO Dr. Robert Greenberg will become chairman of the board at Second Sight, replacing Alfred Mann who will become chairman emeritus, according to the Sylmar, Calif.-based ‘bionic eye’-developing company.
“Will brings an immense depth of experience in the life sciences industry that will advance Second Sight’s commercialization of the Argus II retinal prosthesis. After a thorough search process, management and the board of directors are confident that Will’s broad experience, execution expertise, and strong leadership skills make him the right individual to fully commercialize and rapidly expand our business,” Dr. Greenberg said in a press release.
McGuire comes to Second Sight from a position as president of Americas commercial at Volcano. Previous to his role with Volcano, McGuire was a veep and GM for Covidien, and president and CEO of AtheroMed, according to the company.
“We are excited to welcome Will to Second Sight. His addition strengthens an already outstanding management team that has brought vision within the reach of so many blind individuals. Furthermore, I believe Bob will continue to inspire, in his role as chairman, with as much skill as he led the company as president and CEO. I am confident all of our constituents will be well served in their capable hands,” Mann said in prepared remarks.
During his time as CEO at Second Sight, Greenberg spoke to MassDevice.com a handful of times about the company’s pursuits. Greenberg said the company’s next-generation device, the Orion, would bypass the retina with an electrode array implanted directly on the portion of the brain that deals with signals from the retina.
That would effectively bypass the optic nerve entirely, opening the device up to treating people with most forms of blindness, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and even trauma, Greenberg told us.
“The only ones we wouldn’t be able to treat would be someone who had a stroke that damaged that part of their brain tissue,” he said. “We think we can be in patients within a couple years with that device.”
Greenberg said his goal since Day 1 of Second Sight has been to treat nearly all cases of blindness.
“I’ve always been confident that it’s been achievable,” he said, citing early, hard-wired experiments by others that demonstrated proof of concept, advances in brain mapping that showed how the retinal portion is wired and the advent of wireless technologies.
That early work “really showed they really showed the core principle with those early experiments,” Greenberg said.
“We know the mapping, more or less, in humans. The thought is that we can take the same implant that we have in the retina and place it, with a bigger electrode array, on the surface of the brain,” he told us. “With that we’ll be able to treat patients whose optic nerve has been damaged.”
Last December, MassDevice.com talked to Greenberg about his time in pursuit of the elusive “bionic eye” – you can listen to the interview here.
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