LINCOLN, NE, Virtual Incision, a company developing advanced robotically assisted surgical devices, today announced that it has closed $11.2 million of equity financing.
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Led by Bluestem Capital, the round was oversubscribed with broad participation from existing investors, including PrairieGold Venture Partners.
The funding will be used for a feasibility study on the use of the company's miniaturized robotically assisted surgical technology for colon resection, a procedure performed to treat patients with lower gastrointestinal diseases such as diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer.
More than two million patients undergo colon resection procedures globally each year. Approximately two-thirds of these procedures are performed via a completely open surgical procedure involving an 8- to 12- inch incision and up to six weeks of recovery time. Because of the complicated nature of the procedure, existing robotically assisted surgical devices are rarely used for colon resection surgeries, and manual laparoscopic approaches are only used in one-third of cases.1
'Virtual Incision seeks to enable a minimally invasive approach to a variety of procedures that are typically performed 'open' today, with the potential to improve clinical outcomes and health care costs, which would benefit all stakeholders - patients, physicians, hospitals and payors,' said John Murphy, CEO, Virtual Incision. 'We are excited that our technology holds the promise to make a meaningful impact for patients with colon conditions, who can face difficult procedures and long recovery times with traditional techniques.'
In contrast to today's large mainframe-like robots that reach into the body from outside the patient, Virtual Incision's less-invasive robot platform design features a small, self-contained surgical device that is inserted in its entirety through a single incision in the patient's abdomen. Designed to utilize existing tools and techniques familiar to surgeons, Virtual Incision's robot will not require a dedicated operating room or specialized infrastructure, and, because of its much smaller size, is expected to be significantly less expensive than existing robotic alternatives for laparoscopic surgery. Due to these technological advances, the system could enable a minimally invasive approach to procedures performed in open surgery today.
Colorectal and lower gastrointestinal surgical procedures are growing by 14 percent each year, making these procedures the fastest growing surgeries in the United States.
'The team developing Virtual Incision's technology represent true pioneers in the fields of robotics and surgery. Paired with its best-in-class capital efficiency and the guidance of proven medtech veterans, Virtual Incision is poised to deliver a disruptive approach to surgeries that could make a significant impact for patients and the health care system,' said Steve Kirby, founding partner at Bluestem Capital and Virtual Incision board member.
'This financing is an exciting milestone that will allow Virtual Incision to gather clinical data and position the company for continued growth,' said Mike Jerstad, partner at PrairieGold Venture Partners and board chair. 'I am impressed with the company's progress over the past few years and look forward to the next phase in the technology's development.'
'We look forward to working with Virtual Incision's experienced team to build a very successful company,' added Tyler Stowater, partner at Bluestem Capital.
Virtual Incision's robotically assisted surgical device is an investigational device and is not commercially available.
About Virtual Incision
Virtual Incision Corporation is a privately held medical device company based in Lincoln, Neb. and Pleasanton, Calif. The company's first-of-its-kind miniaturized robotically assisted surgical devices for general surgery are designed to enable a minimally invasive approach to a variety of procedures that are typically performed 'open' today, with the potential to improve clinical outcomes and health care costs. A spinout of technology developed at the University of Nebraska, Virtual Incision's robot-assisted surgical technologies are supported by more than 90 pending and granted patents and 70 comparative medicine studies. The study is backed by Bluestem Capital, PrairieGold Venture Partners, and others. For more information, please visit www.virtualincision.com.
About Bluestem Capital
Bluestem Capital has a successful record of investing capital in various early to late-stage companies. Their officers have more than 65 years of collective business and venture capital and private equity experience. For more information, please visit www.bluestemcapital.com.
About PrairieGold Venture Partners
PrairieGold Venture Partners backs companies that have one thing in common: A desire to change the world. Some of the teams they've partnered with are detecting early-stage cancer, growing plants that create inexpensive sugar, and making solar electricity on roofs, to name a few. For more information, please visit www.pgvp.com.