|Pixium CEO Bernard Gilly|
Pixium Vision, a developer of retinal implant systems designed to restore vision, hopes to raise €33.3 million ($45 million) in a European IPO announced by the company Tuesday. Shares will be traded on the Euronext Exchange in Paris.
Backers of the public offering include Sofinnova Partners, Omnes Capital, Abingworth, Global Life Sciences Ventures, Bpifrance, Seventure and Polytechnos, most of whom were part of a €15 million ($20 million) Series A round of financing last fall.
The Paris-based company was founded in 2011 by Dr. Bernard Gilly and José-Alain Sahel, who built Fovea Pharmaceuticals. That company, which focused on ocular diseases, was sold to Sanofi ($SNY) in 2009. Pixium has developed the IRIS and PRIMA retinal implant systems for patients who have lost their sight from degenerative conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration.
"We believe Pixium Vision is in a unique position to significantly contribute to the restoration of vision of people who have lost their sight, enabling them to lead more independent lives and play a greater role in society," Gilly, chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
Funds from the public offering will be used for the development and launch of the IRIS system in Europe and, eventually, the U.S., Gilly said. The company has targeted a 2015 launch in Europe for IRIS, and is working toward a 2018 release for PRIMA.
Pixium's shares were listed with an indicative price range of €8.28 ($11.27) to €10.12 ($13.78) on an offering of 3,623,188 new shares. The €33.3 million IPO number is based on the midpoint of the indicative price range. Pixium will trade under the symbol PIX.
The French company isn't alone in this field. In February 2013, California's Second Sight Medical Products got FDA approval for its Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, the first-ever retinal implant in the U.S. designed to treat adults with a degenerative eye disease.
Argus II is designated as a humanitarian use device (limited to fewer than 4,000 people in the U.S. annually) and consists of a retinal implant, glasses with an attached video camera and a wireless processing unit worn on a belt. The camera converts video images into small electrical pulses, which are transmitted wirelessly to the retinal implant, where remaining light cells receive stimulation. At that point, the brain can see the light patterns and patients over time learn to interpret them and their new "sight."
- read the release