Second Sight Just Quintupled Its Addressable Market
Jim Collins Jim Collins , Contributor
Second Sight just quintupled its addressable market.
That’s not a typo. EYES announced this morning that the first patient of a five-patient trial in the U.K. focused on age-related macular degeneration had been implanted with the company’s Argus II retinal implant.
By the company’s own calculations the global population of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) sufferers eligible for its Argus II “bionic eye” is 375,000. The eligible population of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) sufferers is 2 million.
So, the implantation of an Argus II at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital by Dr. Paulo Stanga is a transformational event for Second Sight. The study is aimed at the “dry” form of AMD, which is the more common of the two forms, representing about 85% of AMD sufferers worldwide. The BBC has a video about the experience.
In Europe EYES’ Argus II is already indicated for patients with RP and AMD. Both are degenerative conditions. In RP the patient gradually loses peripheral vision until sight is completely lost, while in AMD central vision disappears first and then gradually spreads to the outer reaches of the visual field.
There’s no reason, in my opinion, Argus II can’t be just as effective against AMD as it is versus RP, and the initial patient reaction (as shown in the BBC report) would indicate that is the case. I would heavily caution that this is just the initial patient response from a 5-patient trial, not a commercial sale, but the trial-to-test process should be quite fast. The company expects to begin marketing Argus II to AMD sufferers in Europe at some point in 2016 and the U.S. approval process will be greatly streamlined given the ability to transfer data gleaned from the Manchester study.
Why? Because Argus II works. That’s the one question I receive the most from readers of my column–does Argus II really restore sight to the blind? Argu