Second Sight Medical Products is the latest medtech company to face tough losses as a result of the financial impact of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). The Sylmar, CA-based company is laying off 84 of its 108 employees and said it intends to wind-down operations.
The firm develops implantable visual prosthetics that are intended to create an artificial form of useful vision for blind individuals. FDA greenlit the Argus II retinal prosthesis system in 2013.
Plans now call for the Second Sight to retain an adviser experienced in winding down operations to guide the board on the next steps. Any wind down activity, if implemented, will be subject to uncertainties. Second Sight said additional layoffs are expected to be made at a later date based on its level of operations.
The company is now working on the Orion Visual Cortical Prosthesis System (Orion). It is an implanted cortical stimulation device intended to provide useful artificial vision to individuals who are blind due to a wide range of causes, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, optic nerve injury or disease, and eye injury.
This is a departure from the company’s previous success. In 2013, MD+DI named Second Sight Manufacturer of the Year. The firm was launched in 1998.
The measure follows weight-loss specialist Obalon Therapeutics announcing it explored financial and strategic alternatives because of the impact of COVID-19 on elective procedures.