Miniature Surgical Robots R&D Gets $20M As Virtual Incision Closes Its Series B+ Funding Round

By StartUp City | Friday, January 10, 2020

Virtual Incision, a medical technology company, raised $20M funds from its latest Series B+ funding round. The company will use the funds to develop Mira's capabilities and scope of work.

Fremont, CA: Virtual Incision, a medical technology company, has raised $20 million from its latest Series B+ round of financing. This financing round was led by Bluestem Capital, along with participation from PraireGold Venture Partners and Genesis Innovation Group, and many others. The company, Virtual Incision, is developing medical technologies that have designed miniature surgical robots. 

Since its conception in 2006, Lincoln, Nebraska-based Virtual incision has developed small robotic arms called Mira, which enables the surgeons to conduct minimally invasive abdominal surgery in any medical setting. Mira is specially designed to curb the need for specialized spaces and infrastructure that are necessary for other traditional robotic systems. Mira is all about portability, ergonomic performance and weighs just two pounds so that it can be shifted easily one location to another. Mira at present is geared to improve access to surgeries with much accessible technology. 

“We designed the Mira surgical robotic platform with the fundamental understanding that minimally invasive procedures offer tremendous benefits to patients,” said 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.”

According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the surgical robotics market is pegged at $3.9 billion last year and is said to rise to $6.5 billion by the end of 2023. Virtual Incision primarily started its research group from the University of Nebraska, but ended by raising $2 million worth funding in its Series A round of financing. This helped the company to begin its work on Mira. Its latest funding addition was the recent Series B+ round, which was conducted two years after Virtual Incision closed its $18 million Series B round. 

The company has also confirmed that it has initiated the process for an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) with the FDA in the U.S. If the company's request is approved, Virtual Incision can carry out clinical studies around safety and efficacy. More specifically, Mira will be designed to conduct colon resection surgeries with real patients. According to the company, almost 400,000 such operations have been carried out in the U.S. each year, with the standard approach for such severe conditions that involve open invasive surgery that requires extended hospital stays and recovery times. The operations also include a much higher risk of infection; Virtual Incision has recognized an opportunity for improvement. 

 “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 co-founder 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.”

Even though Mira is designed to fulfill a specific operation, work is under progress to develop several options in the miniature robots purpose-built for a variety of 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 co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO) Shane Farritor.

Weekly Brief