Virtual Incision Corporation, a medical technology company that’s developing miniaturized surgical robots, has raised $20 million in a series B round of funding led by Bluestem Capital, with participation from PrairieGold Venture Partners, Genesis Innovation Group, among others.
Founded in 2006, Lincoln, Nebraska-based Virtual Incision has developed a small robot called Mira which helps surgeons carry out minimally invasive abdominal surgery in any hospital or medical environment — it’s designed to bypass the need for dedicated spaces and infrastructure that is often required by traditional robotic systems. Portability is the name of the game with Mira, and at just two pounds it can be easily shifted between locations, be that to a different room in the same building or an entirely different building altogether.
At its core, Mira is all about improving access to surgery by making the technology more accessible.
“We designed the Mira surgical robotic platform with the fundamental understanding that minimally invasive procedures offer tremendous benefits to patients,” noted Virtual Incision president and CEO John Murphy. “We believe our portable and affordable abdominal robot has the potential to bring these benefits to many more patients.”
Robot-assisted surgery promises a paradigm shift across the medical industry, which explains why we’ve seen a number of notable investments in the field of late — Cambridge, U.K.-based CMR Surgical recently closed a $240 million series C funding round for a similar proposition to Virtual Incision. And Boston-based Activ Surgical raised $11 million for an AI-powered software platform that improves the accuracy and efficiency of surgeons during robot-assisted procedures.
The surgical robotics market was pegged as a $3.9 billion industry last year, according to a recent MarketsandMarkets report, a figure that could rise to $6.5 billion by 2023.
This latest raise comes two years after Virtual Incision closed its $18 million series A round, and with another $20 million in the bank it said that it will be better positioned to pursue regulatory and clinical programs ahead of commercialization.
The company confirmed that it has already filed for an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S., which (if approved) will allow it to carry out clinical studies around safety and efficacy — more specifically, Mira will be put to work in colon resection surgeries in real patients. According to Virtual Incision, some 400,000 such operations are carried out in the U.S. each year, with the standard approach for more severe conditions involving open invasive surgery which requires long hospital stays and recovery times. Such operations also come with a higher risk of infection. And that is where Virtual Incision is looking to make its mark.
“Demand for minimally invasive surgeries continues to increase, and we are enthusiastic about the promise of the Mira platform to meet this demand,” said Virtual Incision’s cofounder and chief medical officer Dmitry Oleynikov. “We are focused on expanding access to minimally invasive robotic procedures and delivering this innovation to the many centers where a smaller, simpler and less costly solution is needed.”
Although Mira has been developed with a specific operation in mind, work is also underway to develop various miniature robots that are purpose-built for different procedures.
“Beyond our initial device design for colon resection, Virtual Incision has begun developing a family of procedure-specific mini-robots for additional operations such as hernia repair, gallbladder removal and others, potentially enabling millions more surgical procedures each year,” added Virtual Incision cofounder and chief technology officer (CTO) Shane Farritor.
Original Article: (http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/venturebeat/SZYF/~3/5Fw_oPaafWs/)