Second Sight Gets a Double-Shot Boost Thanks to PO and NIH installment


Up until a few weeks ago, 2021 had been an up-and-down year for retinal prosthesis maker Second Sight Medical Products, but it recently got a double-shot boost with the closing of a public offering that raised $57.5 million and the third installment of a five-year National Institutes of Health grant for its Orion cortical stimulation device that bypasses the diseased eye to restore functional vision.

Second Sight in June closed its previously announced underwritten public offering of 11.5 million common stock shares at a public offering price of $5 per share. The company says it intends to use the proceeds to support development of the Orion device along with general corporate purposes.

Despite the offering, Second Sight stock has trailed off to trade in the $4-to-$4.35 range, which, while well off its one-year high of $15.20 in March, is still multiples above the $1 to $2 it traded at for much of 2021 up until that March spike. After the company announced the public offering on June 22, its shares plummeted 16% to $5.33, as MarketWatch reported.

Second Sight is best known for the Argus II system, a retinal prosthesis that the US Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency approved for people with late-stage retinitis pigmentosa.

Eventful 2021
It’s been an eventful year for Los Angeles-based Second Sight. Just before its stock price spiked in March, the company received Food and Drug Administration approval for the Argus 2S retinal prosthesis system. A few weeks later Matthew Pfeffer stepped down as acting CEO, and by mid-May the stock price had receded to around $5.

There was also the roller-coaster ride with Paris-based Pixium Vision, a bioelectronics company that develops bionic vision systems for visually impaired people. In January, the companies agreed to join together, creating a company that would focus on Pixium’s Prima System and a subsidiary that would have the first option to exclusive global marketing rights for the Orion system that Second Sight has been developing.

But that deal, as OIS Weekly reported in April, fell apart. Pixium claimed it happened when Second Sight, in March, closed a $27.9 million private placement, which, Pixium stated, violated their memorandum of understanding (MOU). Pixium said that it offered to renegotiate the MOU, but that Second Sight never responded. Then, Pixium reported, Second Sight notified Pixium it would unilaterally terminate the MOU.

Second Sight had other things going on around the same time. In April Second Sight’s board appointed Scott Dunbar as acting CEO to replace Pfeffer, whose term as an independent board member acting as CEO timed out, according to Nasdaq rules. In short order, it reported two-year results of its Orion study in five patients (all of whom showed signs of improvement in functional vision), and then announced the National Institutes of Health released its third-year installment of a five-year, $6.4 million grant to fund the Orion trial.

ThinkEquity, a division of Fordham Financial Management, acted as sole book-running manager for the most recent public offering.

OIS Weekly reached out to acting CEO Dunbar for comment, but he did not respond to e-mails.

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About The Author

Rich Kirkner

Richard Kirkner is an award-winning journalist and editorial consultant who has specialized in ophthalmology and eye care media for three decades. Based in Philadelphia, his work has been recognized with more than 40 awards for editorial excellence.

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