Pixium Vision, a bioelectronics company that develops innovative bionic vision systems to enable patients who have lost their sight to live more independent lives and Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., a developer, manufacturer and marketer of implantable visual prosthetics that are intended to create an artificial form of useful vision for blind individuals, announced today that they have entered into a definitive business combination agreement pursuant to which Pixium Vision will, following the contribution to Second Sight of all of its assets and liabilities in relation to its neuromodulation technology used in the treatment of blindness, become the controlling shareholder of the new combined company, owning 60% of the total equity before the capital raise. The combined company will focus on retinal stimulation through the Prima System.
As part of the transaction, a new subsidiary will be created to focus on cortical stimulation through Orion. The new combined company will own 40% of the new subsidiary and will also have a first option to exclusive global marketing rights for Orion.
Complementary businesses to lead global sight restoration market
The primary mission of the new combined company will be to create a leader in the sight restoration market. Pixium Vision’s Prima System, which started its European pivotal trial in 2020, has the potential to significantly restore visual perception, improve the quality of life and restore a level of independence for people with dry age-related macular degeneration. Second Sight, the leader in implantable neuromodulation devices to treat blindness created Argus II, the world’s first FDA and CE Mark approved device for artificial vision in people with late-stage retinitis pigmentosa, and is developing Orion, a cortical stimulation device that bypasses the diseased eye and could provide a new form of vision.
“Our planned business combination with Second Sight will bring exciting opportunities for both companies, given our synergistic business models and complementary presence in Europe and the U.S. Pixium Vision is well positioned to continue development of the promising Prima System: we have now launched the pivotal PRIMAvera study and have funding in place through the end of 2021. This transaction, including closing of the proposed financing, should provide us with sufficient resources to extend our cash runway beyond 2022, covering results from PRIMAvera.” said Lloyd Diamond, Chief Executive Officer of Pixium Vision. “This transaction comes after Pixium Board of Directors evaluated numerous attractive financing proposals and concluded that the business combination with Second Sight is an ideal opportunity for two very complementary businesses to further develop our promising treatments in areas where there is a significant unmet medical need and comes with the full strategic alignment of both Boards of Directors.”
The complementary technologies have the potential to treat many forms of blindness including degenerative retinal diseases as well as glaucoma, optic nerve disease and trauma, and will also target a broader audience including ophthalmologists, surgeons and neuroscientists. Moreover, the expanded size of the combined entity is expected to allow for easier access to capital, thereby facilitating and accelerating technological and clinical development to bring these transformative technologies to patients.
“The new organization provides for a new subsidiary, to focus exclusively on cortical vision and the Orion platform, which has the potential to treat nearly all forms of blindness,” said Matt Pfeffer, Chief Executive Officer of Second Sight. “The new organization should accelerate the Orion program.“
“285 million people worldwide suffer some form of visual impairment of which roughly 40 million are completely blind. There are many causes for blindness and the combination of Pixium Vision and Second Sight has the potential to bring novel treatments to patients, for whom today, there are no clinical treatment options,” stated Professor José-Alain Sahel, Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Director of the UPMC Eye Center, and the Eye and Ear Foundation Chair of Ophthalmology, Founder of both the Institut de la Vision and of Pixium Vision, and primary investigator of the Argus clinical trials.
Brandford Griffith & Associés, Fenwick & West LLP and Bird & Bird AARPI acted as legal advisors to Pixium Vision and DLA Piper LLP acted as legal advisor to Second Sight Medical.