Developing a ‘bionic eye'

11th April 2017

Posted By Paul Boughton

Retinal implant innovator Bionic Vision Technologies (BVT) has had raised US $18 million (AU$23.5 million) from Hong Kong-based China Huarong International Holdings Ltd and State Path Capital Limited, to develop and commercialise its next generation devices aimed at restoring vision to the blind.

This financing formally launches the Company as it transitions to a commercialisation stage business. To date, the development of Australia’s ‘bionic eye’ has been funded through a five year AU$50 million Special Research Initiative grant administered by the Australian Research Council.

BVA consortium members, whose organisations become alongside the new investors, comprise of the University of Melbourne, the University of New South Wales, the Bionics Institute, Centre for Eye Research Australia, CSIRO’s Data 61, The Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital, Western Sydney University and the Australian College of Optometry.

BVT will use the new funds to manufacture devices and begin a human clinical trial of its ‘bionic eye’ implant in patients with the inherited degenerative eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa. The condition is the most common cause of inherited blindness and affects more than 1.5 million people worldwide.

The investment was made on the basis of BVT’s advanced work in developing bionic vision technologies including a successful clinical trial of a prototype device in three patients.

BVT’s bionic eye has a number of significant advantages over competitors, including a superior surgical approach, stability of the device, and unique vision processing software that potentially improves the patient’s experience.

State Path Capital Limited Chairman Mr Alastair Lam said: “Given BVT's commitment to developing and delivering a revolutionary solution for vision loss, we believe its ‘bionic eye’ technology has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people and meet a large unmet need. Our investment support will help move the current product closer to market and the communities who will benefit."





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