LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 2014 – The strong progress of Argus II, an artificial retinal implant to treat retinitis pigmentosa, could soon encourage large medical device companies to make substantial investments in a market with multibillion dollar potential, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.
Niharika Midha, MSc, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Medical Devices, states that Second Sight Medical Products’ Argus II achieved promising results in early clinical trials. In a study of 21 patients, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, subjects were consistently able to identify letters and words with the device’s assistance.
Second Sight has also recently attained significant milestones in the product’s commercialization. The company filed for an initial public offering worth up to $32 million last month, and then received financial support from the French Ministry of Health to treat 36 patients with the device.
Midha says: “One in every 4,000 people in the US is affected by retinitis pigmentosa, according to the National Institutes of Health. Considering the cost of one Argus II device, which is reported to range from $96,000 to $150,000, this burgeoning market offers considerable untapped opportunities.”
Midha adds that an increasing number of manufacturers across the world are now seeking to develop products for this prospectively lucrative market.
For example, Bionic Vision Australia is currently testing its retinal implant in three patients, while Israel’s VisionCare received the US Food and Drug Administration’s nod for its device to overcome vision impairment in patients suffering from end-stage macular degeneration.
Midha continues: “Due to the positive outlook for the retinal prosthesis treatment market in particular, larger medical device companies with robust financial and research and development resources could potentially venture into this arena in the near future.
“Furthermore, Second Sight and other leading players could also become acquisition targets, since they offer a novel technology that undoubtedly fulfills unmet clinical needs,” the analyst concludes.
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