Bionic Vision Technologies has raised $US18 million ($A24 million) from Hong Kong investors to help if further develop the Australian company’s “bionic eye” in new trials.
The privately owned firm will use the money to manufacture the devices and conduct more trials in patients with degenerative eye condition retinitis pigmentosa.
Retinitis pigmentosa is the most common cause of inherited blindness, affecting more than 1.5 million people worldwide.
The bionic eye is implanted at the back of the eye, where it stimulates nerve cells in the retina with electrical signals created from images collected by an externally worn camera.
Bionic Vision hopes to begin the next-stage trials of the bionic eye in the coming months in Melbourne.
Patients will be implanted with a permanent device to use in daily activities, following early trials in which Bionic Eye only monitored patients in the clinic.
The company said on Tuesday that it had raised $US18 million from Hong Kong-based China Huarong International Holdings and State Path Capital to develop and commercialise the bionic eye.
“This investment is an important milestone for our unique Australian technology and an endorsement of our approach to making a positive impact on global health,” Bionic Vision executive chairman Robert Klupacs said in a statement.
“These new funds will help create an innovative solution to potentially help improve the lives of blind people.”
State Path Capital chairman Alistair Lam, whose uncle is Hong Kong business magnate Sir Li Ka-shing, said the bionic eye had significant global potential and the investment would help move the current version of the device closer to market.