"Bionic eye" manufacturer Second Sight Medical Products Inc. wants to offer its stock to the public.
The Sylmar company makes a prosthetic retina that improves vision for patients with a rare disease called retinitis pigmentosa. It filed for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.
Second Sight's Argus II system was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last year. The system, which includes a video camera and transmitter mounted on eyeglasses, translates light and movement into electrical signals that are sent to electrodes implanted in a patient's retina.
"We are very pleased to have filed our [IPO] application with the SEC and are looking forward to our next phase as a public company as we pursue our mission of restoring sight to the blind," Second Sight's chief executive, Dr. Robert Greenberg, said in an email. He said it was uncertain when an IPO might take place.
Clinical trials have demonstrated that Second Sight's prosthetic device, which took more than two decades to develop, helps people whose retinal cells were destroyed by disease to restore the ability to perform many daily activities. It does not fully restore vision, but allows patients to detect light, dark, objects and people.
Retinitis pigmentosa is a hereditary disease that affects about 1.5 million people worldwide, including about 100,000 people in the United States, Second Sight said in its SEC filing.
Second Sight was co-founded by physicist and entrepreneur Alfred E. Mann, who is chairman of its board. Mann is also chief of MannKind Corp., which recently won approval for an inhaled insulin drug called Afrezza.