Retina Implant said this week that it raised $28.2 million (€26 million) in private equity funding for its Alpha IMS device, which is designed to treat blind patients with retinitis pigmentosa.
The round including contributions from new and existing backers, the Reutlingen, Germany-based company said. The proceeds are earmarked for new clinical centers and winning reimbursement in more markets for the Alpha IMS subretinal microchip.
“This re-investment is incredibly important to us as it solidifies our investors’ belief in our vision. This continued commitment will allow us to make great leaps forward to help bring this technology to the people that need it most,” CEO Walter Wrobel said in prepared remarks. “We are simultaneously building out the arsenal of skilled retinal surgeons who are able to perform the procedure while working with the local insurance agencies to establish reimbursement of the device.”
“The results of Retina Implant’s clinical trials and the receipt of CE Mark approval of the Alpha IMS device demonstrate the company’s impact on the ability to restore some artificial vision to those living with RP. This if one of the most fascinating projects I have ever seen and I am convinced that this company has a bright future,” added investor Max Reindl, founder & CEO of Wavelight Laser Technologies. Alcon paid €10 per share, or roughly $91 million, for Wavelight back in 2009, before Alcon became a unit of Swiss pharma giant Novartis (NYSE:NVS).
Retina Implant, which won CE Mark approval in the European Union for the Alpha IMS in 2013, won reimbursement in Germany the next year. Last summer the company said a clinical study of 29 patients showed that more than 86% experienced improved ability to detect light and identify specific light sources. More than 50% reported restoration of “useful visual experiences in daily life, including the recognition of shapes and household objects, improved ability to identify facial features” and some ability to read letters, according to the study.