Pixium Vision was founded in December 2011 by Bernard Gilly, Professor José-Alain Sahel, and several highly renowned scientists from prestigious academic and technology institutions. The company develops innovative vision restoration systems (VRS) that are active medical devices. They can be implanted to treat blindness caused by degeneration of the photo-receptor cells of the retina. VRS stimulate the retina to produce a bionic vision and aim to significantly improve the independence, mobility and quality of life of patients who have lost their sight. Called IRIS® (in clinical trials) and PRIMA (under development), these VRS harness the latest advances in microelectronics/nanoelectronics, optronics, neurobiology and software. With the help of these technologies, Pixium Vision ultimately aims to provide a therapeutic solution delivering bionic vision as close as possible to normal vision.
A long-term view
Alexia Perouse (Partner at Omnes Capital) and Bernard Gilly first discussed vision restoration systems in the early 2000s. "VRSs aim to enable blind people to perceive shapes and movements, a really tremendous project. But their design came up against two hurdles, systems miniaturisation and real-time image transmission", explains Bernard Gilly.
Pixium overcame these hurdles in 2011 when it launched IRIS (short for Intelligent Retinal Implant System), consisting of a pair of glasses with an integrated mini-camera linked to a pocket computer and a retinal implant that stimulates the brain cells.
"It met all our criteria for investment: disruptive technology, a seasoned management team and a promising medtech sector", says Alexia Perouse. So in 2012, Omnes Capital invested €5 million.