Second Sight, a Sylmar company founded by billionaire Alfred Mann to develop an artificial retina for blind patients, filed paperwork for an initial public offering on Tuesday.
The company plans to sell 3.5 million shares at $9 each to raise $31.5 million. The net capital of $30 million will go to “increase our visibility in the markets we serve,” as well as strengthen the balance sheet, the company said in its prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Each share of the common stock will be coupled with a nontransferable right to obtain an additional share at no cost two years after the IPO is completed.
Mann, who is the chairman, will have a 33 percent stake after the IPO closes. Other major shareholders include Williams International of Walled Lake, Mich. at 18 percent, Versant Ventures of Menlo Park at 13 percent and Chief Executive Robert Greenberg at 3 percent.
The sole book runner of the offering is MDB Capital Group, which is headquartered in Dallas and has an office in Santa Monica.
The implantable retina system, called Argus II, is approved for sale in the United States for people with a relatively rare disease called retinitis pigmentosa, and in Europe for several other visual impairments. The company plans to expand approved uses to cover nearly all blind people and to move into new foreign markets.
“Over the next 12 to 18 months we intend to introduce the Argus II System in countries other than the U.S. and Europe with the assistance of local partners in some cases,” the prospectus stated.
The Argus device is implanted behind the eye and then connected to an external, glasses-mounted camera. According to a Business Journal story last year, the cost for the device is $96,000 in Europe and could run as high as $150,000 in the U.S. So far, the company has implanted about 90 Argus systems in Europe.
The company reported a gross loss of $70,000 on revenue of $657,000 in the first quarter, according to the prospectus.
Mann, who started Second Sight in 1998, also serves as chief executive of Santa Clarita-based MannKind Corp, which is readying to launch its inhalable insulin product under the brand name Afrezza.
Second Sight leases its headquarters from the Mann Biomedical Park LLC in Sylmar.