Second Sight Medical (NSDQ:EYES) today announced the first trial implantation of its Orion cortical visual prosthesis system and updated on implantations of its Argus device and enrollment in an upcoming study.
The first implantation procedure was performed late last month by Dr. Nader Pouratian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the Sylmar, Calif.-based company said, as part of an FDA-cleared feasibility trial it won approval to launch last November.
The Orion cortical visual prosthesis system is designed to convert images captured by a miniature video camera, mounted on a patient’s glasses, into a series of electrical pulses which are transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes on the surface of the individual’s visual cortex.
The result is the perception of patterns of light, Second Sight said, which bypass the retina and optic nerve to potentially restore useful vision to patients who are completely blind due to reasons including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cancer or trauma.
“The first-in-human implant of the Orion is a significant milestone for Second Sight, and a critical step forward in meeting our company’s mission to develop devices that could potentially treat nearly all forms of blindness. We expect that an additional four patients will be included in this feasibility study at UCLA and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston,” board chair Dr. Robert Greenberg said in a prepared statement.
Second Sight said it implanted 30 total Argus II retinal prosthesis systems during the fourth quarter of 2017, bringing the total for 2017 up to 75, up from 42 reported implants in 2016.
The company said it expects to enroll the first patients in a clinical study of better-sighted patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa in Germany this quarter, with two sites screening subjects and a third to begin shortly.
In addition, Second Sight said it had opened a Center of Excellence in Houston, Texas and that German reimbursement for its Argus II device was renewed for 2018.
“We are excited about our milestones and achievements in 2017, which speak to the strength of our business and the momentum we expect for continued success in 2018. We continue to advance our Argus II R&D efforts and have initiated screening for a clinical trial in better-sighted RP patients. Second Sight is committed to executing on our strategy to expand the availability of the Argus II to a larger patient population and explore the potential of our technology to treat those suffering from other forms of blindness. We look forward to updating investors on our continued progress,” prez & CEO Will McGuire said in a press release.
In December, Second Sight said it launched its Argus II retinal prosthesis system in Iran, facilitated through its exclusive distribution partner Arshia Gostar Darman.