Second Sight Medical Products, a developer, manufacturer and marketer of implantable visual prosthetics that are intended to create an artificial form of useful vision for blind individuals, announced in March that because of the impact of COVID-19 on its ability to secure financing, it would lay off the majority of its employees as a first step to an orderly wind-down of its operations.
Second Sight had created the only FDA-approved implantable visual prosthetic treatment (Argus II) for severe retinitis pigmentosa. To date, more than 350 patients have received an Argus II implant. More recently, the company developed the Orion implant, which is placed directly onto the visual cortex of the patient’s brain. Signals received from a miniature camera integrated within a pair of glasses are fed to the implant and interpreted as “vision” by the brain. At the time of the closure announcement, the company was conducting a feasibility study with the Orion device implanted in six blind patients. Second Sight had been working towards a larger “pivotal” trial of the Orion implant, while all of the patients taking part in the small-scale study had reached the 12-month mark.
The closure announcement was made shortly after Second Sight provided its 2019 financials that showed an operating loss of $34 million during the year, on sales of less than $4 million. Operating capital came mostly from $35 million cash that the company raised in a shareholder rights issue about a year ago.
On May 5, 2020, Second Sight closed an offering of its common stock worth approximately $6.8 million. Second Sight intends to use the proceeds for “accrued expenses, working capital and general corporate purposes. Those expenditures may include partnerships, business combinations, acquisitions or investments.”
Second Sight Medical’s assets are going up for auction tomorrow (June 25):
“The auction will feature Second Sight’s medical device manufacturing equipment, laboratory assets and office furniture located in Sylmar, Calif. Items available include laser systems, oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, scientific microscopes, laboratory refrigerators and freezers, ultrasonic cleaners, vacuum pumps, probe systems, computers, office equipment and more, according to a auction company GA Global Partners.”