8. Advances in treating hearing and sight lossThanks to biotech advances, device miniaturization and better computing power, the past decade has also seen potentially disruptive advances in treating the loss of hearing and sight.
Rising stars include Frequency Therapeutics, which priced an $84 million IPO in 2019. Frequency’s hearing loss treatment drug FX-322 is meant to activate progenitor cells — mature stem cells that can proliferate into different types of cells. A health provider injects the drug into the middle ear in a slow-release gel.
Early in 2019, Second Sight Medical (NSDQ:EYES) announced the first trial implantation of its Orion cortical visual prosthesis system. The implanted Orion system converts images captured by a miniature video camera mounted on glasses into a series of small electrical pulses delivered to the brain — bypassing diseased or injured eyes.
“This is the first time that we’ve had a completely implantable device that people can go home with and use in their own living conditions without having to be plugged into an external device,” ULCA Health neurosurgeon Dr. Nader Pouratian said in a news release. “It helps them recognize, for example, where a doorway is, where the sidewalk begins or ends or where the crosswalk is. These are all extremely meaningful events that can help improve their quality of life.” – CN