Solid tracking for Bionic Vision Australia, but eyes commercialisation hurdles

THE BIONIC Vision Australia consortium has met its milestones, but will need private funding to complete the commercialisation of the bionic eye.

A report from The Australian claims the bionic eyes consortium has “burned through more than half” of the $42 million it has. Clinical trials remain 1.5 years away.

According to the report, Bionic Vision Australia’s acting director Nigel Lovell says it has enough funds left to meet its upcoming goals and start clinical trials by mid-2013.

The $42 million worth of funding came from the Australian Research Council’s $50 million grant pool, which was set aside for the development of the bionic eye. The other $8 million was given to Monash Vision Group.

Bionic Vision Australia has already developed the chip for the bionic eye. The next milestone involves making a casing for the chip.

Los Angeles competitor Second Sight Medical Products has already substantially completed its bionic eye product, dubbed the Argus II, and has licence to sell it in Europe. BVA previously fended off overtures by Second Sight to jointly develop the bionic eye, citing the importance of healthy competition.

When the trials are complete and the grant funding is exhausted, BVA will seek private funding to commercialise the bionic eye. At that stage, it will need around $100 million.

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