Hope for the blind thanks to business angels

Medtech company Retina Implant secures around Euro one million from private investors

Reutlingen-based medtech company Retina Implant AG is developing an electronic chip that is implanted in the eye under the retina and will restore partial vision to many blind people.

Three business angels in particular are also confident about the success of this small company and are providing just short of Euro one million in funding between them. The Federal Government and state of Baden-Württemberg are also contributing around the same amount in grants. Robert Drosten of Schramberg, the Wandel family of Reutlingen and a further investor, all successful and experienced entrepreneurs, are confident that the product, its market prospects and the company's management are solid.

The scientists at Retina Implant are concentrating first and foremost on patients with retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary disease that leads to complete blindness within just a few years. The company has long since occupied a leading position internationally due to the research work of Chairman of the Supervisory Board Professor Eberhart Zrenner at the University Eye Clinic Tübingen and other participating institutions like the NMI in Reutlingen and IMS in Stuttgart. The importance attached to the project and the forthcoming clinical application pay testament to Professor Zrenner's choice of Dr. Walter G. Wrobel as the new Chairman of the Management Board of Retina Implant AG. Dr. Wrobel, who used innovative products to turn the ophthalmology arm of Carl Zeiss Jena GmbH into a profitable enterprise and was most recently Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for technology at Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, has a great deal of experience in the medtech industry. As such, he is the ideal person to strengthen Retina Implant's technical expertise in its efforts to develop an active subretinal chip.

The global market potential for the next decade is estimated at Euro one billion annually at the very least. Along with Professor Zrenner and Reinhard Rubow, CFO at the company, Dr. Wrobel says Retina Implant AG is a "real jewel for investors". The additional capital will enable the company to implement the innovative measures necessary to bring the active microchip a step closer to approval as a medical product. CFO Reinhard Rubow believes that "the risk of early investment will pay off as the company is making the right moves this year for ensuring earnings and growth." BioRegio STERN Managing Director Dr. Klaus Eichenberg is also confidentthat the company has enormous potential: "This is by far the most advanced project for restoring sight."