Ash Attia, Bionic Vision Technologies - Suprachoroidal Visual Implants | LSI USA '24

BVT Bionic Eye System is a suprachoroidal visual implant that has been designed to restore functional vision to the blind suffering from inherited retinal diseases.
Ash Attia
Ash Attia
, Bionic Vision Technologies

Ash Attia  0:06  
Good morning, everyone. And thank you very much for being here again at this hour. And you're interested in listening to the Bionic Vision story. Probably 10 years ago, if I told you that a device can restore vision, functional vision to the blind, you would have told me you were dreaming, then yes, we were dreaming. But it is a reality to that. Imagine, you are one of millions and millions of people who are born, they can see very well. But then when they get to their teenage years, and because they have inherited a retinal disease, and have one gene, potentially out of 500 different genes. When they get to their working age group, they will completely become blind.

Speaker 1  1:02  
Scott Nixon's eyesight started to fade when he was just a baby. And he was declared legally blind before he turned 21.

Unknown Speaker  1:10  
I can't even tell you something like, you know, how many fingers am I holding up, let alone anyone else.

Speaker 1  1:15  
Here's one of four participants, trialing a bionic eye, which helps people with retinitis pigmentosa navigate the world. So

Speaker 2  1:22  
these patients start with vision in early life, but progressively lose vision.

Speaker 3  1:27  
The cutting edge surgical technique involves placing an implant on the skull, which attaches via a lead to electrodes within the back of the eye. The glasses have two cameras capturing footage that sent to this unit, which converts the video into an electrical impulse that then passes back to the skull onto the device in the eye, which stimulates existing tissue helping wearers see great grandmother Colleen Knowles is one of millions robbed of their size due to a genetic condition of the retina.

Speaker 4  2:00  
Sometimes that little bit of even though it's not your fault, there's still a bit of guilt that, you know, they've picked up this genetic condition for me. And I see that down the track being a relief for parents and that as well, to know that something can be done live on, for sure. I can look out over the bay and know whether there's any boats out there on the bay. With without advice, some I don't even know there's technically I know that's water and sand, but I wouldn't be able to tell you,

Speaker 3  2:29  
Colleen still vividly remembers who switch on day,

Speaker 4  2:33  
probably the first seven or eight times nine times maybe that's 10, can you see anything? No, no, no, no. And then all of a sudden, and my family were in another room watching it through CCTV. So it was exciting for them as well as history making that's going to change the lives of visually impaired people.

Ash Attia  2:58  
I hope the Australian accent here was not too difficult for you to to understand. But this is one of many, many, many news programs in Australia that have featured this technology. So what kind of disease am I talking about here, it's called retinitis pigmentosa in very simple terms. A gene that the person is born with, destroys all the photoreceptors that's in the back of the eye in the retina, which a new an eye turns light into vision becomes entirely unfunctional and destroyed and therefore, they will all become totally blind. The prevalence of this disease in the western world as in United States, Europe is one in 3000 to 4000 people are born with that in China and India, North Africa, the Middle East, etc. It's one in 700 People born with this. So it's quite quite common. Essentially, the technology is that the wearer would wear a pair of glasses. And the pair of glasses basically is connected to a receiver which essentially captures everything live that the frame of the glasses and it's very cool pair of glasses of course embedded with infrared detectors for cameras, eye tracking facilities, it sends all this to a essentially an electrode that goes behind the retina and therefore stimulates the retina in a certain pattern, which between that and the brain processing power, it gives patients the ability to see. And what I mean by that is that they can recognize loved ones, they can identify empty chairs, they can go to a food court and know which shop to go and order or they can look at you rather than look away from you when you're talking to them. But what strikes me and all of us about vision more than anything, is the independence and the confidence that these people gain. Again, after they were born, they know what it's like to see. And then they become blind, that that's really devastating. And to give them back sight, nothing short of miraculous. We are the only one today in the world that has got this technology very successful. And what makes us unique, really than anyone else who has tried this is the fact that we go into a space behind the retina, whereby we don't damage any vision whatsoever. And we can go in and out with the electrode in as many times as we like, should, we need to improve the system via hardware. But of course, the system can be upgraded, and will be many, many times over the next few years, just using remote software, just like your mobile phone. The surgery has been proven in the many patients we have done so far it is safe, effective, we have had no adverse events due to the surgery or the electrodes. And it's very stable. We also give the patient a very user friendly way of interpreting what they're looking at. Last but not least, should the technology of gene therapy or stem cell therapy really advances far more than where it's at today. We don't exclude those patients, because we don't damage anything in the retina so they can have the system and they can also be part of any trial and many other advantages. We have done a plethora of clinical trials, I'm not going to bore you with data. But let me just be very brief and clear. We have already done first in men concept surgery in back in 2012. We have them followed by a feasibility study. In 2018, we have done three other clinical trials after improving the software and vision processing, the results have been published. And they are nothing short of outstanding. Just to give you an idea about what patients will perceive, let's say when they look at someone just approaching them on the street. So that's the real video. And that's the kind of light and vision that the patient would have. To them. This is miraculous. It's not a black and white video or color. But then that's regaining vision that they can really function with. We have also figured out a way, given the very sophisticated vision processing, that we can actually help any blind person now not just due to retinitis pigmentosa but without an implant, but helping them to navigate their way around and recognize certain things. It's everything we use for the bionic eye, except instead of using the implant, we would have the same same system, but just have a belt on their back that vibrates in certain direction and certain intensity that allows them to do certain things. Now, this is not regaining vision. This is just luck and very sophisticated visual aid for the vision impaired anybody with a guide dog, but of course it does a lot more than that. The market opportunity is huge. The market opportunity for just the vision impaired with the vibration on the back, you know without surgeries is there's about 1.2 or so billion dollars. And if you extend that to people with white cane so on that that's also huge in excess of 14 billion for the bionic eye and the disease that we are targeting which is retinitis pigmentosa. Initially we will target the very very last of these who have gone blind but of course we will never run out of ideas So, this is our launch schedule, growth opportunity significant and working with the very best of the best opinion leaders and specialists in the area of vision and retinal surgery. We are preparing to list on NASDAQ probably in the next three months. Very quickly. The very first patient we have implanted in 2012 Dr. Diane Ashworth.

Speaker 5  10:33  
I've got a condition called retinitis pigmentosa well RP for short. And it it's left me with light and dark perception, the implant is in the eye or behind the eye or not on the retina. Because then there was no chance of the retina being damaged. So that that was a main decision why I decided to take part in this and it was switched on was you know, waiting, waiting. I had these goggles on and I didn't know what to expect. I can remember when the first sort of bigger image came there. I just went wow. You know, because I just didn't expect it at all he just did. But it was amazing. It's been 15 months since I've been implanted. Not really knowing what the journey was going to be like but excited to be a part of it. I can recognize and work out letters and numbers through the camera. You know it was was really exciting. A real I suppose eureka moment was was really fantastic.

Ash Attia  11:38  
I thank you very much for your attention.


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