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Tuesday, Nov 28, 2023

Second Sight Merger Moves Ahead

Firm, Nano Precision to be known as Vivani Medical.

Second Sight Medical Products Inc. is set to go through a number of changes following shareholder approval of its proposed all-stock merger with Nano Precision Medical, a move that will result in Second Sight changing its name to Vivani Medical.

The merger proposal, which entails Nano Precision merging with a wholly owned subsidiary of Second Sight, received more than 20 million votes in favor and 420,406 votes against it from shareholders. The company anticipates the merger will be completed in the latter part of August or shortly thereafter.

Sylmar-based Second Sight and Emeryville-based Nano Precision provide distinct products from one another. Second Sight is a developer of implantable visual prostheses designed to provide artificial vision to the blind, while Nano Precision is in the business of biopharmaceuticals. Nano Precision’s lead product is under development to treat type 2 diabetes patients.

“These are exciting times for Second Sight as we welcome the Nano Precision Medical team,” Scott Dunbar, Second Sight’s acting chief executive, said in a statement. “For those who don’t know, Nano Precision Medical, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical business which develops miniaturized subdermal implants utilizing its proprietary NanoPortal technology to enable long-term, near constant-rate delivery of a broad range of medicines to treat chronic diseases.”

The merger was one of seven proposals that were voted on at an annual meeting held at the end of July. Another proposal approved by shareholders was a reverse stock split of Second Sight’s common stock. On Aug. 19, a one-for-three reverse split of its common stock went into effect. 

Another proposal approved by shareholders was the election of six director nominees to the board of directors, all of which were pre-existing board members of Second Sight. The members included Chairman Gregg Williams, former Chief Executive Will McGuire, Director Aaron Mendelsohn, former MannKind Chief Executive Matthew Pfeffer, Williams International Vice President Alexandra Larson and former Northrop Grumman Vice President Dean Baker.

The board will serve until next year’s annual meeting of shareholders or until their successors have been elected.

The collective approvals significantly affect Second Sight’s future, as the company distances itself from a turbulent few years. 

In 2020, the company laid off 84 of its 108 employees, citing pandemic-induced financing troubles. This year, an investigative report from IEEE Spectrum revealed the company’s Argus I and II retinal prostheses were going defunct in patients. Spectrum is a monthly magazine edited by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

In a statement to Spectrum, Second Sight said that amid financial difficulties compounded by a reduced workforce it “was unable to continue the previous level of support and communication for Argus II centers and users.” No repairs or replacements for the prostheses are available to the more than 350 patients who have the Second Sight implants.

Defunct Argus systems can cause complications or interfere with medical procedures and can be painful or expensive to remove, according to Spectrum.

Antonio Pequeño IV
Antonio Pequeño IV
Antonio “Tony” Pequeño IV is a reporter covering health care, finance and law for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. He specializes in reporting on some of the biggest names in the Valley’s biotechnology sector. In addition to his work with the Business Journal, Tony has reported with BuzzFeed News on the unsupervised use of Clearview AI, a controversial facial recognition technology. Tony, who also conducts freelance reporting, graduated from the USC’s Master of Science in Journalism program in 2021. He is in his fifth year as a journalist as of 2021.

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