Letter from the Chairman
I am delighted to introduce you to Pixium Vision, a company focused on restoring vision for people who have lost their sight. Blindness is a major unmet medical need. In 2010, there were approximately 285 million visually impaired people in the world of whom 40-45 million were completely blind. For these blind patients, no treatment exists today.
Pixium Vision is making great progress towards addressing this important medical and social need by developing unique Vision Restoration Systems (VRS) - IRIS® and PRIMA. These systems aim to provide blind patients with vision as close as possible to normal.
Each VRS comprises three components, and is associated with a surgical procedure and a rehabilitation program. It is composed of a retinal implant attached to the retina in the eye to stimulate nerve cells; a portable visual interface in the form of a pair of glasses with an integrated mini-camera to capture visual information, and a pocket computer to convert the visual information into electrical signals transmitted to the implant to stimulate the retinal cells and create ‘vision’.
To start, Pixium Vision intends to commercialize its VRS for retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) will follow. These irreversible pathologies affect people who had normal vision until the onset of symptoms. It is estimated that between 15,000 and 20,000 new RP patients lose their sight each year in Europe and in the United States. AMD affects many more people in Europe and the US with more than 350,000 to 400,000 new patients expected to lose their sight each year.
Clinical studies for IRIS® started in June 2013 in a number of clinical centers in Europe. The results of the trials will be used to apply for a CE marking, which, if granted, would pave the way for a 2016 European launch of IRIS®. So far, patients are tolerating the implant well, the devices are functional after implantation, and improvements in the visual perception of blind patients have been observed.
PRIMA is in preclinical development and the Company expects to begin clinical trials in Europe in 2016.
Our recent IPO was an important milestone in Pixium Vision’s development. The company will use the proceeds raised from the IPO to support the clinical development and commercial launch of its IRIS® VRS in Europe and the United States, as well as the development of the PRIMA VRS to the point of its commercialization in Europe.
We believe that with IRIS® and then with PRIMA, Pixium Vision will be in a unique position to significantly contribute to the restoration of vision for people who have lost their sight, enabling them to have more independence and to play a greater role in society.
Bernard Gilly, Chairman and co-founder of Pixium Vision