- Virtual Incision, the startup that is getting ready to send a tiny surgical robot into space, said it has raised $30 million in an extension of its previous $46 million series C financing.
- The funding round will support the company’s operations “well into 2025” as it prepares to commercialize the compact robotic system designed for abdominal surgery, Virtual Incision said.
- The Lincoln, Nebraska-based company in May submitted a de novo request to the Food and Drug Administration to market the robot for use in bowel resection procedures, after completing an investigational device exemption study.
A modified version of Virtual Incision’s MIRA system is headed to the International Space Station in 2024 on a test mission to perform simulated surgical tasks, in a collaboration between NASA and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The goal is to pave the way for performing telesurgery in space, according to the company.
Aboard the space station, the two-pound MIRA device will operate inside a small experiment locker and perform activities that mimic surgery, including cutting simulated tissue and manipulating small objects. The university received a $100,000 grant from NASA to ready the robot for the test mission.
On Earth, Virtual Incision expects the robot’s small size to appeal to surgeons and hospitals for routine and high-volume procedures that are often performed in outpatient and ambulatory surgery centers. The platform’s surgical device is inserted into the patient’s abdomen through a single umbilical incision.
Following its initial focus on colon resection surgery, Virtual Incision plans more specialty robots for potential applications such as hernia repair, gallbladder removal, antireflux surgery, splenectomy, adrenalectomy, gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, hysterectomy and hepato-pancreato-biliary procedures.
The company’s latest funding round will support a gynecologic clinical study planned for 2024. Virtual Incision will also continue to develop an even smaller version of the robot to enable additional general surgery applications, with a first-in-human clinical study expected next year.
The latest funding round was led by the company’s current investors, Bluestem Capital, Endeavour Vision, Baird Capital, cultivate(MD) Capital Funds and PrairieGold Venture Partners, and new investors Arboretum Ventures and InVivium Capital.
“This financing, particularly in the current fundraising environment, is a significant affirmation of the promise Virtual Incision offers to both patients and shareholders,” Virtual Incision CEO John Murphy said in a statement.