Second Sight Medical (NSDQ:EYES) said today that it won a grant of nearly $2 million from the National Institutes of Health to back the early feasibility trial of its Orion device for the visually impaired.
The Sylmar, Calif.-based company said the $1.6 million grant is part of a five-year, $6.3 million package that’s slated to fund the trial, which began in January. The NIH grant will cover the enrollment and treatment of five patients with Orion, a visual cortical implant that links to an eyeglass-worn camera, Second Sight said. The device is designed to bypass the optic nerve by sending the camera’s images to an array implanted in the visual cortex that transmits the images directly to the brain.
Second Sight said the grant is also intended to back its bid for FDA and institutional review board approval for an expanded Orion trial. The federal safety watchdog put Orion on the fast track to approval last November.
The NIH funds will also allow for the company to evaluate the system’s reliability, create and test spacial maps in as many as five patients and make other advances.
“We are delighted to be working with the researchers at the NIH and are deeply appreciative of this grant as we aim to advance Orion and work toward commencing a final clinical study to gain FDA approval. With this grant, we are one step closer to bringing Orion to a broader market that potentially treats a segment of the millions of blind individuals worldwide who have no other option,” president & CEO Will McGuire said in prepared remarks.
In May Second Sight inked a deal with chairman Gregg Williams for a $10 million private placement. A rights offering brought in $20 million back in March 2017.