REUTLINGEN, Germany, Aug. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Retina Implant AG, the leading developer of subretinal implants for patients blinded by retinitis pigmentosa (RP), today announced that the Company's Alpha IMS microchip was granted NUB innovation status and will now be reimbursed by Germany's statutory health insurance system. Insuring 90 percent of the country's citizens, the German statutory health system has come to an agreement with six German University clinics and leading teaching hospitals to provide appropriate late-stage RP patients with access to the Alpha IMS microchip.
"Since receiving CE mark of our Alpha IMS microchip, we have been focused on educating and partnering with physicians across the EU. Obtaining this reimbursement was a critical next step as we continue our mission to restore vision to patients with RP," said Walter-G Wrobel, CEO of Retina Implant AG. "It's fitting that Germany be the first country to approve reimbursement for the Alpha IMS since this is where the microchip's journey began nearly 20 years ago. We look forward to working with more countries across the EU to achieve the same goal."
The CE marked Alpha IMS device is implanted beneath the retina, specifically in the macular region and simulates the functioning nerve cells of the eye. The desired outcome is restored functional vision to people with RP, enabling patients to recognize facial expressions, distinguish objects such as telephones, cups, plates and decipher signs on doors, as was achieved in many of the 42 patients operated thus far worldwide. The successful results of Retina Implant's clinical trials of the Alpha IMS device were published twice in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
"I am very happy that these leading eye clinics were able to come to a reimbursement agreement with the German statutory health insurance system to provide patients with access to the Alpha IMS microchip," said Franz Badura, chairman, Pro Retina Germany. "NUB innovation payments are an important way to introduce new therapies, under carefully controlled conditions, to help ensure patients receive treatment safely. The creation of retinal implants is something that we've worked quite closely with Retina Implant to develop, making this victory even more gratifying."
The six physicians offering the Alpha IMS across Germany include: Dr. Helmut Sachs at Klinikum Friedrichsstadt, Dresden, Professor Hans Hoerauf, at Universitaetsklinik Goettingen, Augenheilkunde, Professor Carsten Framme, at Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Klinik fuer Augenheilkunde, Professor Johann Roider, at Universitaetsklinik Kiel, Klinik fuer Augenheilkunde, Professor Florian Gekeler, at Klinikum Stuttgart, Augenklinik, and Professor Karl-Ulrich Bartz-Schmidt at Universitaetsklinikum Tuebingen, Department fuer Augenheilkunde.
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About Retina Implant AG
Retina Implant AG is the leading developer of subretinal implants for partially sighted and blind patients. After extensive research with German university hospitals and institutes which began with a large grant from the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education in 1996, Retina Implant AG was founded by Dr. Eberhart Zrenner, professor of Ophthalmology, University of Tuebingen, Germany and his colleagues in 2003 with private investors with the goal of developing the first fully-functioning electronic subretinal implant to restore useful vision to the blind. Retina Implant began implanting in human patients in 2005, and started a second multi-center clinical trial in 2010. In July 2013, Retina Implant's wireless subretinal implant technology, Alpha IMS, received CE mark for commercial distribution in the European Union. To learn more, visit http://www.retina-implant.de/.
SOURCE Retina Implant AG